Today, I Turn Twenty-four

My Symphonies: Home / Day Wave

Wasting Time / Day Wave

Semi-rocking the guybun in 2016 (*Not a recent photo, thank god!).

So today, I turn twenty-four. 

I remember typing out almost the exact same words back in May 2013, when I wrote Today, I Turn Twenty. This time is different, though. When I turned 20, I felt a lot of uncertainty and discomfort towards aging. In fact, I used to be a self-proclaimed ageist. The mere thought of being a year older always made me feel nauseous and quite anxious. Every year, when I “celebrated” my birthday, I would always try to hide how upset I was with the fact that humans have to naturally age. I hated the concept of getting old.

But this year is different. For the first time, I actually feel very at peace with turning a year older. And not just that; I also feel very at peace with the fact that every year, everything and everyone else turns a year older. It is finally safe to say that I have come to terms with the way the world works – Things and people age; there’s nothing we can do about it.

I am writing today not just because it’s my birthday, but also because I want to acknowledge change. Change, who comes when it’s time for it to come. Change, who is the master of beauty and tragedy. Change, who is the initiator of bliss and chaos. And Change, who so effortlessly comes with aging.

When I think of my life from the beginning leading up to this point, I see it in chapters. And what’s great about chapters is that they tell us that apart from the end and the beginning of every book, there are tiny little ends and beginnings in between. And these little ends and little beginnings create something beautiful – something worth reading, worth telling and worth living. This has been my life:

The Childhood Years, when I first learned to take life one step at a time (literally); when I played in playgrounds and scratched my knee like every kid did; when I looked at grown-ups around me and wondered if I, one day, was also gonna be as big and as complex and as successful as they were; when life was a never-ending cycle of naps, tantrums, school, lunch boxes and Cartoon Network…

The High School Years, when I tackled so many things for the first time without much knowledge about life and the world I lived in; when I fell in love for the first time, got my heart broken for the first time, failed an exam for the first time, topped the class in something for the first time, made great friends and mortal enemies for the first time, and played in the field of teenage angst, romance, betrayal and overall drama for the first time; The High School Years was that one chapter that gave the first definite shape of my personality…

The University of the Philippines Years, which gets a special chapter due to the silent but steady impact it had on me. This chapter was when I learned that I can handle change (a major change) for the first time. I learned that simplicity doesn’t have to mean boring, and that modesty doesn’t have to mean defeat. I learned to take matters into my own hands, stand up for myself and carry on through the tough days without having to cry for help. This chapter was when I started to really genuinely appreciate sunsets, deep meaningful conversations and the importance of getting to know people outside of my shiny little bubble…

The Great Move, the chapter that tells of my move to Canada with my family. This, more than anything by far, has been the greatest teacher. This chapter was when I found myself in a world so different from where I grew up in. I learned so many things about other cultures especially when I was in Vancouver Film School. I learned so much about the sad realities of life, and how we all have a choice to bounce back from them. This was the chapter when I went through depression triggered by an unrequited love, and later on realized it was all just a lack of love for myself. I would say that without this chapter, I wouldn’t have been able to handle the next…

The Dark Ages, was a chapter that started out so magnificent, and so daring, and so adventure-filled and exciting. But I give it its chapter title due to the overall draining energy that surrounded it from the beginning, and more so towards the end. I fell in love with a guy that was ready to give me the world, but wasn’t ready to love me for who I am. I experienced physical abuse, verbal violence and worst of all, emotional manipulation. I learned that love isn’t enough – a relationship has to have friendship, compromises, acceptance and most importantly, respect. I learned that I am resilient, and that no matter what life was gonna throw my way after this chapter, I can absolutely handle it…

The Renaissance, cheesy, I know, but whoever said “There is light at the end of the tunnel” is hands down a genius. It’s true! Now I find myself in a place happier and brighter than anywhere I have ever been. I can definitely say that I am right where I am supposed to be in life right now, feeling exactly what I am supposed to be feeling at the moment, and being with the people whom I am most precisely supposed to be with at this chapter in my life. I am grateful for the genuine love I’ve found, blissful for the friends and family I have been blessed with, and ecstatic to take on the coming months and years of this journey called life…

I look at where I am today, and I realize that I should be happy about turning a year older. Turning a year older means I am still alive right now. I can still do whatever I want to do with my life, and go places, see new things, meet new people. Turning a year older means I have survived all the years before this; that I have embraced change time and time again, and that I have triumphed over obstacles and challenges that went my way.

Chapters. That word is subtly synonymous to “hope”, to “life”, to “change”. And today, I would like to celebrate turning a year older by thanking everyone in my life (literally EVERYONE, including those who are no longer a part of it in the present) for making me who and what I am today.

Because, girl, I’m slaying. ❤ ❤ ❤

The Boy Who Cried “Let’s Hang Out!”

My Symphony: Something Here / Day Wave

Growing up is strange in that the people you used to hang out with everyday begin to gradually but steadily diminish into faces without names, and names without faces. Hours of deep, meaningful conversations at the football field have turned into minuscule scroll-down glimpses on Facebook. Countless heart-to-hearts have deteriorated into the most casual of “what’s up’s” and “hello’s”.

Who are we? Or, I guess, the more appropriate and less ambitious question is, who were we?

We were once kids, who (without doubts or hesitation) would knock on each other’s doors at two in the morning just because. We were once kids, who unconsciously spent more time with each other than with anyone else, on a daily basis. We were kids who drank their first beers together, smoked their first cigarettes together, and lived through their first heartaches and heartbreaks together.

Perhaps friendships are just naturally more challenging as we age. Back in high school, everything was just easy. We were in the same school, in the same classes, liking the same things, sharing the same goals (mostly consisted of passing Physics and submitting our Research papers on time). Some were even living on the same street, talking about the same trends, listening to the same music. ‘Follow’ meant literally following each other around school during lunch, recess and dismissal, ‘Like’ literally meant liking each other for and despite all his/her flaws and imperfection. ‘Friends’ literally meant people you cry with one second and laugh with the next. Life was a series of sleepovers, unplanned Saturday afternoons at the mall, secrets involving crushes and mortal enemies, and the usual horsing around over fishballs and ice crumbles.

But growing up has changed all of that. Hanging out is now a super-conscious decision you have to make. You don’t just happen to be in the same vicinity with your friends all the time. A mere meet-up for coffee takes a lot of scheduling, rescheduling and compromising. Nothing is as easy as it was. Now, you actually have to really want to see someone in order for you to afford the time and energy (and sometimes money) that it takes to meet with someone.

And this is exactly why friendships in this stage of our lives are the most important: these are now the friendships we choose to have, the friendships we choose to keep; the relationships we decide are gonna progress and develop into something larger and realer as the years go by. We no longer share our deepest darkest secrets to just everyone in our circle, and in the rare event that we have a sleepover, it isn’t just high school buddies passing time anymore; it’s like-minded souls mutually sharing in each other’s worlds, exchanging thoughts and ideas, basking in the light and warmth of a presence which, although rarely present, will always be genuine. We stopped being kids hanging out, and started becoming human beings connecting.

I love you, dear friends.

P.S. Let’s not be strangers…

High School High

My Tune: The Bitch of Living (from the musical Spring Awakening)
audio link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=reqSQy_69m0

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Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that I’m drastically becoming one of those people who are desperately holding on to their youth. I know that the flower-crowned optimists of this world say that age is just a number and that one can stay forever young if he pleases to, and all those other metaphors and euphemisms they use these days to cover up ugly truths, but I feel like a realist today. And today, what’s real tells me that I am an unemployed twenty-year old artist with a lackluster social life somewhere in the jungle-like Western civilization. And I just can’t help but think to myself, “Dang, boi! Where did all the years go?”

Here’s the thing about me: I am lethargic. I am lazy. Bed-ridden. I mean generally speaking, I barely even walk for more than a total of 90 seconds per day, and I don’t really consider sweating a prerequisite to my well-being. The most active thing I do is take a shower twice a day, but that’s about it. I might as well dub myself “The World’s Youngest Retiree Ever”. But here’s the catch: I wasn’t like this before. Not at all. I was one of the most energetic, most party-fueled, adventure-filled, life-loving people I know. Now I’m sitting here just wondering what happened to the livelier version of myself; the one who always found excitement in the littlest things, the one who would not allow a day to pass without trying something new. You know, the one back in high school.

High school. Here we go again. I’ve written several things about this already, but if I actually wrote each time I start to miss high school, even if it’s just always momentary, then at least half of this blogsite would be about nothing else other than high school. But here I am right now. And besides the fact that I haven’t set foot on the grounds of my high school for three years now, what brought me here?

An hour ago, I was re-watching an episode of 90210, and it’s the one where the West Beverly Hills High produces a performance of one of the most notable plays in history, “Spring Awakening”. It is the work of German dramatist Frank Wedekind written sometime between autumn 1890 and spring 1891. And it is one of my favorite plays of all time. It definitely is the real High School Musical.

One of the songs in Spring Awakening has always stood out to me, and that is the song “The Bitch of Living”. If you also love this song, or if you are not familiar with the play and are curious, then go click the audio link I so kindly provided for you at the very top of this write-up. There’s just something about this song that makes me vividly remember how it felt like to be in high school. All of those events and stage plays held in our university gymnasium, amphitheater and football field always top my memory list. I mean, jesus, I’m having goosebumps just thinking about the moments I had there, with my friends, with their hearts, and with all our innocence.

When I think of the past, I think of high school. This is a choice I make because high school, despite the bumps and grinds, was the best time of my life so far. Hold on, I know what you could be thinking right now. “My gosh, what a shallow little stuck-up human being you are, Kenn! High school was the best time of your life? Ugh, that’s just sad and pathetic. You were probably popular, had lots of friends, had a cinematic lovelife and didn’t have social anxiety that’s why you love high school! Fuck y–” But I’m stopping you right there. “The best” is something relative. And right now, I am at that point in my life where I appreciate the past because it’s the only thing I am sure about. And I am so sure about high school…

High2

I am sure that none of those sleepless nights trying to figure out Algebra was a waste, because we weren’t really dealing with those x’s and y’s and binomials anyway. We were up, yes, but we were dreaming. I’m sure we were. We were dreaming of ways to eat our lunch the next day and the ways to get our crush’s number without looking like a retard. And I’m sure that sometimes we all did look like retards, but none of that entirely mattered. Because we had so much energy in us that humiliation and consequences were but fractions of motivation that only kept us going.

high5

I am sure that those hallways weren’t just hallways; they were our very own world stage. Those hallways had seen so much of us – from the casual chit chats and last-minute note-scanning to the cutest holding-hands sessions and the overwhelming battles of forbidden love. Secrets were blurted out, love was confessed, friendship was made, friendship was broken, all in those hallways.

High1

I am sure our dusty classrooms during our last year in high school weren’t just classrooms, either. Underneath the drama and some inevitable social discord, those rooms had been an echo chamber of a complex yet blissful familial dysfunction. Those rooms were our homes away from home. And I’m sure we all learned at least a thing or two about teenage hormones in there.

I am sure that those first times were going to be worthwhile. That first drop of beer and vodka was merely the beginning of a journey. That night we decided we wanted to try smoking, that night we got drunk for the first time, that same night we saw ourselves not just as students but as people. All those mini fights, mini flirting, mini kisses, mini heartbreaks and mini nights-out made room for memories that were gonna be larger than life.

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I am sure that puberty, sexuality, poverty, love, rape, abortion, religion, gender, suicide and child abuse were all subjects very fresh to us. Most of us were just getting to know life through a peephole, and we were stoked! We were nervous, yes, but we were ready for anything life was gonna throw at us. We knew at the back of our minds that that was the time to learn, bit by bit, and then all at once.

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I am sure that everybody had a blast during that on-campus camping when we were in junior year. I’m sure that the air that night was rather intimate, but not necessarily in a sexual way. It was intimate in that it brought people who were already close even closer, and that it smelled something like a quarterback’s sweaty bedroom. I’m sure that that bonfire lit up something inside each of us, even though we weren’t conscious of it right when it happened. But it was there, happening. I’m sure that every single one of us who looked straight into that tall fleeting fire felt this underlying gratitude for being alive. We were just so full of life and hope. I’m sure that the tents we slept in, the grass we walked on and the friends we laughed with were gonna be there for the long run. We knew nothing was permanent, but we also knew that that night was gonna last for a long time. In fact, so long of a time it still lives in us today.

I am sure that one afternoon in the gymnasium was a fateful one. I was rehearsing with my co-emcee for the Sportsfest Opening, and you were standing by the gate carrying your sports gear. And you weren’t exactly looking at me the whole time, but I would stare at you every chance I got, and I saw the 4-PM sun light the left part of your body and the wind blow your perfectly straight hair just enough so that a small portion of your right eye was covered, and then revealed, and then covered again, and then revealed again, and I thought you were just beautiful – just you standing there from a close distance, looking like someone I was going to spend the rest of my life with. And of course, neither of us intensely believed that. We both knew it was all on the surface, but we didn’t care. It just felt nice. And that’s all that we could hope for that day; to feel something nice.

High4

In a world where everything seems so ephemeral, it is a gift to be able to keep great memories close to your heart. We are almost at that point already, my dear high school batchmates. We’re in this for the long haul. We were gossiping about crushes back then, but soon enough life slaps us in the face with jobs we don’t enjoy, bosses we hate, financial crisis we can’t escape, menacing strangers and some pretty devastating bad hair days. I mean, it is the bitch of living. We will eventually lose that youthful energy we always used to own, and we will someday feel like sleeping for a decade. But I think that if we just hold on to those moments from yesterday – those minutes and hours when all we cared about was feeling something simple and nice, those nights when we were living just for the hell of it, times when we were counting clouds and not assets, months when we didn’t have to worry about rent, or how much we had in our bank, days when it didn’t matter how badly we sucked at something because we would always just laugh at it – then we can absolutely feel nice forever.

I was losing all of my energy. But I just suddenly remembered, “I was a fucking teenager with all those fucking bad-ass moves and trips”. And I still am. I will forever be.

Laxatives and Narratives

My Symphonies:

Operating by Lady Danville | Wait by M83 | Don’t Go by Wretch 32 feat. Josh Kumra 

“This is a weird world we live in.” — Daniel KV

 Since I moved here in Canada, a lot of things have changed in my life: views, beliefs, social stature, financial state, taste, fashion, activities, et cetera. But what resounds to me the most is the change that happened within me, and it’s something which seems hard to articulate. Well I guess I can put it this way: since I moved in this country, my life has been conventional, standard or, for an even plainer term, proper. To put it simply, I haven’t been the “wild” and “daring” person I used to be. There are times when I actually fear that the interesting, jolly, adventurous, fearless entity inside me is already dead; that I’ve already lost the cheer I used to own and all that is left is a  collision of a dull simplicity– no edges at all. And I don’t know if this has something to do with the fact that I am new to this whole environment or if I have merely outgrown what one might call “the untamed stage”. However, it doesn’t really matter. Because last night, I somehow managed to experience who I was again for one night. Basically, last night was the most exciting and memorable thing that had happened to me here in Vancouver so far. Why? Because last night was the first time I felt like myself again after a loooong time. So I am here to write about last night, about what I did, about what I learned and rediscovered. And yes, I am literally feeling like a zombie with only four hours of sleep and a hangover right now, but I am convinced that I am impelled to put these precious thoughts in my head into writing while they’re still fresh to my memory.

Caution:  What you are about to read may contain reckless rantings, juvenile yammering and relatively mundane narrations. Trails of careless conclusions may have also been injected in the article. Read at your own risk. 

Yesterday, Daniel and I went to Havana to see this queer improv comedy show called The Bobbers Do The Bible. One of the main reasons why we decided to go is because our improv instructor at school, David C. Jones, was one of the performers, but it was also because we didn’t have much to do. Before we got to the theatre, there have been several navigational mishaps which resulted to the two of us being nine minutes late for the show. Fortunately for us, the staff or whatever were nice enough to allow latecomers (although we both maintain that we didn’t deserve to be called latecomers because nine minutes isn’t that bad, right? Right? Right). So yeah. The improv show was inspired by random bible passages and audience votes, and it was definitely hilarious. During the first intermission, Daniel and I decided to grab some drinks. I got a glass of margarita while he had a pitcher of dark beer. After the show, half of the pitcher of dark beer was waiting to be consumed. And because Daniel is such a beer fanatic (well, not really but you know what I mean), he made me drink it too. And so I did. We finished the beer. I ordered a plate of fries (which the waitress emphasized were regular fries) along with a pitcher of Mojito (which happens to be one of my favorite beverages). I was already starting to feel a little buzzed by the time the Mojito was served. And so, just like what normal people do when they’re buzzed, we talked. And this isn’t just the hangover speaking, but I know for a fact that in between those Mojito gulps was a string of simple yet meaningful conversations. Apparently there is really something about alcohol that makes people say (or ask) what they have to say (or ask) the moment they wanna say (or ask)  it– no sugar coats. Just the truth. Plain and simple. Just before we finished the pitcher, we ordered another one, at which point we were already too tipsy to care. And what’s fascinating about the whole making of orders is the fact that we are both broke, but we just didn’t give a heck; we weren’t even looking at the price list. We just did what we had to do: get drunk and not give a f*ck about the world. Halfway through the second Mojito pitcher, we called Simon (and I honestly barely even remember what I was saying and what we were talking about, or why exactly we decided to call him). Well, just fun stuff. Finally, we were done with all the drinks. In total, we managed a pitcher of dark beer and two pitchers of Mojito in our systems. The result? You’re about to find out.

We went out of the bistro laughing, yelling and literally hopping. We were talking about getting some more booze or blaze and how we’re gonna be able to get to his place when I realized that I was feeling light– like I wasn’t wearing anything. That’s when it sank in to me that my wallet wasn’t with me at that moment. Crazy, ei? It’s particularly crazy since I was consciously laughing while saying “my wallet! I lost my wallet! HAHAHAHA”. Daniel was already half-panicking. It was almost like he was more concerned about my own wallet than I was. And that was when I told myself “Man, I haven’t felt like this in almost two years”. What I actually meant was that I have never felt that feeling of being carefree and just shallowly (yet truthfully) happy since I was in high school. I mean, I used to always hang out with my friends (people I treated like family), get drunk, lose things and just be blissful. And we were just so young (15-16 years old) and free. It all felt real and wonderful. And I miss that. I miss those moments. I miss just being who I am with people who wouldn’t change a tiny bit of their perception of me even if they know all the not-so-becoming secrets I keep. I miss that feeling of eating french fries and dipping them in ketchup even if I don’t normally dip stuff in ketchup coz I don’t really like ketchup, but I didn’t mind coz I was drunk, and I like ketchup when I’m drunk. See?  This reminiscence even makes my sentences awkward and ungrammatical. But then I don’t care because that’s the feeling I’ve been longing for– the feeling of not caring; of just soldiering on in exciting ways; the feeling of being alive. And that’s exactly how I felt that moment when Daniel was running back to the bar to go find my wallet, and I was just walking, taking my time as I allowed oxygen to enter my lungs. And in my mind was my old self telling me “Chill. Whether or not you find your wallet, you are happy. I know you are. And that’s what’s important.” 

Just as I was talking to myself in my mind, I heard somebody across the street yelling “Hey! Are you guys looking for something?” When I heard that, I just instantly felt like I already saw it coming. It was almost like I knew that I was gonna get my wallet back in the end. And there he is, a raggedly dressed five feet six inches tall guy, walking next to me. His name is Ryan. When I saw him walking beside me, he was going over my wallet as if double checking, scanning it again to make sure that he took all that he needed. See, this seems to be a regular tragedy, but if you come look at it, I was in this undeniably extraordinary moment. I was walking next to a random guy whom I’ve never met before, searching my wallet as if he was dissecting some reptile in Biology class, while I was just looking at him while he was doing it, defenseless. It’s not regular at all. That was an exciting experience. Not everyone gets to experience that. And so there. He took 20 bucks from my wallet as well as my beloved monthly bus pass. So despite him being such a hippie, he actually is a hero. Not for me, bot for himself. He was heroic enough to save himself from taking all the other stuff in my wallet which he might not even need, or from not bothering to give me back my wallet at all. I am thankful that I still have all the vital IDs in my wallet. I loved him for returning them to me. I mean, at the end of the day, maybe he needed that 20 bucks way more than I would ever do. Maybe he needs the bus pass way more than I do. Above all of it, I was just somehow happy to have seen him get himself a couple slices of pizza. This guy may have been starving for several days. If that 20 bucks was enough to change his life even just for 24 hours, I am already happy for him. Everyone deserves a slice of pizza every once in a while anyway.

After I got my wallet back, what happened was something I’d rather not elaborate here in the cyber space. Basically, Daniel almost got in what could have been a messy and bloody street fight with a couple of cranked up hipster-type seemingly directionless men who have probably not done anything productive with their lives at all.  But yeah. IT WAS FUN. Another epic moment. And what basically happened next was the two of us walking along the streets of Vancouver in search for buses (how adventurous). It was already quarter to two in the morning. We were sitting in a bus stop. We were listening to sick beats in Daniel’s iPod on full volume. We were laughing, and we seemed to be so happy and we didn’t even exactly know why. All I know is that at that time, I completely let go of my sheer contempt to the world. I didn’t hate the world last night. I was just having a great time. And it was because I used my imagination and pretended that the world didn’t exist, and that I was but a kindred soul galloping next to a friend’s influential presence.

After two hours of walking and bus-searching, we made it to Daniel’s place. At that point, my mind was already packed with lightness. All I ever wanted to do was drink some juice and water, play some videogames and force myself to be oblivious to the reality that when  the sun rises, all of it will be just another day which will add up as an utter memory…; Daniel and I played Grand Theft Auto high as f*ck. And we couldn’t stop laughing at the littlest things in the videogame. It was especially exciting for me because it was the first time I’ve ever played that game. Hell, it was the first time I’ve played a videogame in years! And I don’t wanna appear to be someone who is eternally passive, but I just can’t help but remember those days when I would play Mario in Family console. I remember being so cheerful and being so pure– someone who didn’t have any prejudices or judgments about anything or anyone in his life; someone who was so little yet so full of life. And that’s what I experienced that moment in front of the TV, sitting on a “frighteningly comfy” rolled blanket, holding an Xbox controller, being consumed by a 2-player mode game with a friend. I missed that.

We then went to the bedroom, but it seemed like the night wasn’t over just yet. We watched several videos of ghosts and aliens in Youtube. I remember telling Daniel a little chunk of my own experience with a ghost when I was nine. All of it was just interesting. I mean, the videos. No matter how ridiculously false they appear to be, somehow I believe them. At least at that moment, I did. I am pretty sure that at that moment, I was consumed by my imagination. And it’s funny how imagining stuff can lead you to talking about reality. When the lights were turned off, and when we both were lying down on our respective mattresses, all curled up with the gentle comforters, and just before we totally shut our eyes, four lines have been said (not accurately, but here’s how I remember they were said):

Me: It’s really crazy. We all live in this world thinking that we are the only ones who exist. I mean, there could be aliens out there. We think we are so big, but we’re not.

Daniel: We are so small. There are 600 billion stars out there, Kenn. 

Me: Exactly. Life is so strange.

Daniel: This is a weird world we live in.

 And we fell asleep.

I found this “last chapter of the night” very wistful as it reminded me of my ex-bestfriend (whom I have wrote about in one of my previous blog entries). We also used to just lie down before sleeping and just talk about the most spontaneous topics and we always ended up discussing transcending views on life and how much we wonder about it. You know, you just look at the ceiling while talking to somebody with a like-minded spirit as you two discover what you believe in together; as you try to embellish what appears to be dull and analyze what seems to be self-explanatory through conversations which don’t happen everyday. That’s beautiful. And I missed that.

Before I end this post and surrender myself to the boring reality again, let me just express my gratitude to the universe for conspiring to make me experience the kind of life I used to live on a daily basis before I moved in this gigantic country. I am aware that I no longer have the kind of life I used to own. I am aware that the friends I’ve invested so much in may not even remember me ten or eleven  years from now. And I am aware that I am making baby steps again. I am going from the very beginning once again. These lands don’t contain my footprints yet. The grounds of this city aren’t familiar with the soles of my feet. Its walls don’t recognize my smell and its dwellers do not know who I am. And so before me is actually a shining, percolating chance to start again. And it took me eight months to realize that.

As with Daniel, he is someone I do not really know. I mean, I doubt anyone would even expect us to hang out. I don’t know his family, his friends, the stuff he does, the food he likes, the things he hates or what he thinks about jellybeans. I can barely even picture his face out using my imagination because I don’t usually see him on a daily basis. His energy is something I’m not used to just yet, and he is technically an acquaintance. I mean, he might not even care about the crazy things that happened last night. He might already be over it. He might not even be as amazed as I am right now. He might not even read this and care. We might not even hang out like that again. We might not even talk about last night ever again. He might even be just another dude who I got drunk with. But that’s not the point. The point is, last night, he was my bestfriend. And last night, I rediscovered who I am.  And that goes beyond any other social journey I’ve had in my life so far.

Call me a deliberate over-thinker. I don’t mind. It’s probably true. *wink

 

Seven Hundred Thirty-two Point Five

My Symphony: Little Wonders by Rob Thomas

Our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. Time falls away, but these small hours… these small hours still remain. And in the end, we will only just remember how it feels.

Yesterday, I was so carried away with the knowledge that it was my beloved mom’s birthday (March 23). We talked on the phone for roughly 30 minutes, and then I went to bed at quarter past midnight. I woke up to a new day, took a shower, ate my little brunch and just after I drank the very last drop of my apple grape juice, that’s when I realized that high school is already exactly 732.5 days ago.

March 24, 2010 (High School Class 2010 Graduation).  Two years ago, I never really thought that I would write about this one day. When I was in high school, all I ever wished for was to get out of high school. I couldn’t wait to put those four years, which I considered a heavenly hell-like ghetto paradise, behind me. But now that I am in a new country where no one really knows me at all, I begin to find out how much I love my high school days. It’s almost like the only certain thing that had happened in the past. High school is still fresh to my memory. All still appears clear to me: the hallways, the classrooms, the textbooks I used to carry with me to school, the names and faces of teachers, the canteen, the university football field (which happens to be my favorite place in the world), the subjects I really really hated (which I’m sure I’ll never get to encounter ever again in my life), the high school park (even if I never really spent a significant amount of my time there), the lobby, the tall, shady trees which made breathing through those four years a lot easier, the gymnasium, the amphitheatre, the lockers, the armchairs and the energy of each student in the department. But apart from that, what resounds to me the most is the fact that everytime I think about high school, I instantly get this weird, giddy notion that all of it feels like just yesterday. And it does. It does feel like 24 hours ago.

I can never really completely explain how much I feel right now. I’ve never really felt anything like this before. It’s that feeling that you’ve lived so much in the span of two years, but then you look back to the years before that and you notice that you’ve never lived like you’ve lived high school. Yes, high school was full of drama and superficiality. And I often doubted its purpose. I even reached the extent of cursing it. But I take all that back now. I was a kid, and I may have said and done things which didn’t really make sense then, but actually ended up defining who I am now. So yes, high school was a lot of work, but it was also definitely an array of subtle yet vigorous  life-defining moments that taught us lessons which are everlasting. And I don’t know if the rest of my batch mates feel this way, but I do. I do feel that those cliques, those social codes, those rainy days of cramming, those stern classes, cheesy puppy and first loves (which we all thought would last “forever”), those cute little notes we made, those little fights (which then seemed like World War 3), those academic and social competitions, those dry and dire hours of bearing with Drafting, Math, Physics and CAT, those flag ceremonies (which I usually skipped), those numerous mass services in the oratory (which I also skipped), those moments of staying in the campus past hours, the tiny bits of “suffering” and the overall tragicomedy were ALL worth it.

High school graduation is already two years ago. A year from now, I will remember this day as I type in “March 24, 2013…”

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCIk8nwH8VY

The State Of Our Affairs

My Symphony: State of Our Affairs by Mt. Desolation

The morning wears a veil of rain in the city I live in. The traffic’s edging forward again, but no one knows where they’re going…

Upon looking at the collage of pictures at the very beginning of this post, you must know up front that this write-up is about me and another human being. However, this won’t be just about us. I decided to write this one because of two reasons. One, I have been missing high school since graduation day last March 24, 2010 (I just don’t admit it to myself and to other people); two, I know for a fact that looking back at what was always comes with a lot of lessons. You know, you take a walk down memory lane, you see the first signs of trouble, and then you get back to the present with a much clearer understanding of why things happened and why some people aren’t where you had imagined they would be in your life today. If you choose to read on, you might actually learn something from this.

So for many many years, I have been known by the people close to me as someone who is emotionally and socially unstable. About three or four months ago, I posted a status in Facebook that went like: “Can somebody please tell me what it feels like to have a life-long bestfriend? Just curious.” There are at least about 30 likes and 12 comments on that post. One comment that stood out to me was “I bet you have been wondering about this for a long time.” Not the exact words, but it went something like that. Well it’s true. I have been wondering what it feels like to have an ultimate partner in crime that will stand by you no matter what. Both of my brothers have such amazing bestfriends. Most of my friends also have partners in crime of their own. Even my aunt and cousins also live in this world with the foundations of very cool, very long-lasting friendships. And so I start to ask myself, what’s wrong with me?

For those who didn’t get the chance to know me when I was in high school, the guy with me in the pictures is Jerome. I am pretty sure that it is very safe to say that he is my ex-bestfriend. But don’t get ahead of yourself. This won’t be focused on him or on us. I am just using him as a certain symbol that is best to represent something else.

Jerome and I were bestfriends. It’s been almost two years since we last talked (like really talked). But on those old days, we would always have lunch together. I can’t really remember all the names of the food we used to order on a daily basis at our high school’s canteen, but they were mostly beef steak and pork barbecue. We would order what the other ordered. We would walk along the halls of the school with people looking at us wearing strange and bewildered layers of skin on their faces (yes, I always knew what most people thought that time). We would help each other out on assignments, projects, quizzes and most of all, research and thesis-writing. We would go out and drink with our other buddies, sleep over at each other’s house, meet and greet each other’s parents and siblings, talk about our dreams and most importantly, we would unconsciously learn from each other given our obvious differences.

I remember that time at Saga-sa. I’m sure not a lot of people know that place. Well, it’s a small strip of land not very far from Bacolod City. It’s where Jerome lives. Well there was that one time when I went there for a sleepover and just before the sun set, I sensed this incredible smell of nature. I don’t even know how to effectively describe it, but the way it smelled reminded me of green leaves, tall, shady trees and fresh air. We went outside his house, I looked up and saw a pale orange atmosphere in the skies. All I could really think at that moment was how idyllic his hometown is and how stress-relieving that kind of view was. A couple of hours later, we were called for dinner, and Tita Leila (Jerome’s mother) really left me in amazement the moment I tasted her green shells and grilled fish. Nothing really beats what’s fresh and natural. And that’s what I learned from that fateful day.

Later that night, I introduced my favorite tv series to him. At first he was really reluctant and skeptical. But I didn’t mind. I mean, I can be such a persistent influence on someone most of the time (HAHA). So we started with of course, the first episode of the first season of the series. That was like 9:00pm or something. At the end of the episode, he was saying that he loved it and that he wanted to watch one more episode. And so we continued. It was actually sort of weird because I had watched the first season literally three or four  times before, but I still kept on watching it again and even found that I still think it’s very interesting and entertaining. The next thing I knew, we were already watching the eleventh episode, and the clock read 01:45am of Sunday. I was already very sleepy and exhausted that I actually begged him to stop watching. But my plead for mercy was of no sign of use. He kept on watching and even though I was already lying down the bed, I could hear the dialogue and I was simply playing the scenes in my head. So there. Within the period of eight hours, there we were watching 90210, my favorite tv series. We finished the season at nearly five in the morning and I was like “HOLY SH*T! We finished one full season in one sitting!”. What’s very memorable about that night is that I wasn’t really expecting that someone who plays soccer, listens to hard metal songs, knows how to cut woods and carries the image of a totally manly jock who makes all the girls go asdfghjkl could ever appreciate an American TV series so dramatic and flashy as 90210. But he did. He liked it, and on top of that, he also liked Annie Wilson (Shenae Grimes) the most in the show. She was our crush. Well, I don’t know with him now, but Shenae Grimes will always be my celebrity fantasy. *grin

So those were the days. I could elaborate more on the drunken nights, the sleepless talks, the shopping sprees and everything in between, but I won’t. What’s major with this reminiscence is the realization that comes with remembering certain people in our lives who somehow weren’t able to make it to our present. I am not saying that it was Jerome’s or my fault. Because really, it is nobody’s fault. Quite frankly, I can’t even remember why and when we started being cold to each other anymore. It’s almost like the reason is no longer there, but the effect remains iridescent. Sometimes we hate some people, we despise them and we curse them like there’s no tomorrow. But a day comes when we begin to forget why we’re mad on the first place. And this is where the wake-up call kicks in. The day we forget the reason why we are mad at somebody is the day that we realize that we were never really mad to begin with; we were only sad. We were sad because things didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to; because our expectations outshined the outcome; because as we grow up, we acquire the sufficient knowledge and wisdom that enable us to understand that life is an almost never-ending scope of closing cycles. And we don’t want that. No one wants that. No one wants that kind of life where he has to deal with the fact that good things always come to an end. But it’s neither a good nor a bad thing. It’s just the way life is.

My ex-bestfriend and I are probably never gonna be the same. We might see each other again a couple of years from now, or we might not even get a glimpse of each other at all. We might be friends again someday, or remain strangers for the remainder of our lives. We might bump into each other someday and naturally recall those days when we were almost like brothers, or we might forever be a mere memory of two high school buddies who used to dwell in the energy of one another but are now reduced to faces without names and names without faces…

It doesn’t really matter. Whatever our relationships with certain people have turned into, wherever they are right now (whether you two are living in the same block or in two places which are miles and miles away from each other), whoever they have become and however you live your life right now, there is absolutely no reason for you to be sad about the things and people that were. Because at the end of the day, “losing” someone isn’t a tragedy. It is just the current state of your affairs. 

The Childhood I’ve Outgrown and the Simplicity I Want To Own Again

My Symphony: Only One by Yellowcard

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJLkcPhVi9w&ob=av2e

Songs and smells will bring you back to a moment in time more than anything else. It’s amazing how much can be conjured with a few notes of a song or a solitary whiff of a room. A song you didn’t even pay attention to at the time, a place that you didn’t even know had a particular smell. I wonder what will someday bring back Dex and our few months together. Maybe the sound of Dido’s voice. Maybe the scent of the Aveda shampoo I’ve been using all summer.
 Emily Giffin

To all 17s, 18s and 19s out there…

This song brings me back to the cozy and mysterious hallways of my high school. And I do hate high school. I really do. But I just miss it sometimes. I mean, do you ever come to think of it? The fact that we will never be younger than we are RIGHT NOW, like at this very moment, this very second. Doesn’t that freak you out? I don’t know what your high school life had been like, but mine was surely a hell of a story even I can’t believe had actually happened. And as each day passes, I begin to look forward to looking back. It’s like as I grow up, the fear of what’s out there is beginning to build up, and I can’t help but remember the old days when things were a whole lot simpler. What is it in life that we want? I mean, why do we even wake up each morning and go to school or to work? What is this all for? I’m pretty sure all the 20 somethings as well as our parents have an answer to that question. But as with people so young and so innocent like us teenagers, it’s still all vague. We, the teenagers, are in a certain point of our lives where the past doesn’t seem so far away and the future isn’t that close either. We spend most of our time preparing for that “bright tomorrow” even when we don’t really know what that means. So what does that mean exactly, success? Is it money? Is it fame or luxury? Is it a state of “self-fulfillment”? I don’t know. And I’m sure as hell no one in this world really knows what success is or how to measure it. Why? Because people never get contented. That’s the bottom line. We always seem to want something MORE than what we already have. It’s just NEVER EVER enough for anybody in this place full of greed and self-absorption. And even the richest people on earth aren’t that happy. Because humanity lacks the capacity to appreciate the SIMPLE THINGS in life. We are all just so aggressive and so determined to work hard for that thing we call “success” but we don’t know if success guarantees happiness. The way I see it, at the end of the day, we all come back to the very place we are dying to escape. And that is the place called “simplicity”. After all the riches have been splurged away, after all the complexities have maimed our lives, all the drama, all the sorrows, all the pain, all the laughter, all the challenges and everything else in between, it all comes down to what’s plain and simple— life. That’s everything all of this ever is. LIFE. Nothing more and nothing less. And so everytime I remember that I am 18, I miss high school more and more. Because I know that when life gets too complicated and when I find myself being the complicated person I swore I’d never be, HIGH SCHOOL will be my only reminder of the childhood I’ve outgrown and the simplicity I wanna own again.