The World According To Kenn Tenorio and 77 Pieces of Advice On Life, Love and Everything in Between, Coming From the Old People

My Symphonies:

  • Drag / Day Wave
  • Nothing At All /Day Wave
  • Lanterns / Birds of Tokyo
  • Taking Over / Joe Goddard

tumblr_n0kx3pGBhT1qbospho1_1280

We are here, you and me, right now, in this wonderful and chaotic place called Earth. And there are so many of us. Sooo many. So far, the general approximation is 7.2 billion and counting. Can you imagine that? There are more than 7 billion people breathing in this oblate spheroid at the moment. And each day, an average of 353,000 babies are born into this world to join our humanity. On the other hand, roughly 160,000 people die everyday. Every.Day. Isn’t that crazy? The statistics alone are enough to disturb us, scare us and maybe move us in some way, whether positively or negatively.

But lucky for us, we aren’t just here to make up those statistics. We are alive, and each of us has his own story to tell. We aren’t just here so that one day we can either give birth or pass away in order for the statistics to remain interesting. We are here for a reason, regardless of what that reason really is, or if you even believe there is one.

So 7.2 billion. To me, that’s a lot. I mean, I go to SM City Bacolod (which is a relatively tiny mall in my tiny hometown) and I go ballistic over the number of people that make up the crowd there, especially on Sundays. I literally sometimes get excessively infuriated by crowds. There are just times when you’re like “What in the eff is happening right now? Like WHY ARE THERE SOOO MANY PEOPLE?!?!!” And usually I just rush to run whatever errands I need to run in that mall and then I go for the nearest exit. And it really fascinates me how I can be so overwhelmed and stressed out sometimes by the number of people strolling in a nearby local mall, but when I take a look at the bigger picture, it’s nothing compared to the total of people that comprise the human race at the moment… 7.2 billion people.

… 7.2 billion people, yet we are so far away. So far away from each other, so far away from other people’s lives, other people’s cultures, other people’s griefs and joys. But when you think about it, we are one. We are one yet we are separated, scattered. We have gotten so used to life being a cycle that can be lived by following some rules and standards. We have become so accustomed to this process of waking up and surviving each day, trying to make ends meet, or trying to become better than we were yesterday, or competing with others, or gearing towards being successful. Life has become more of a marathon – a race – where money and success is what globally matters. We pass by people on the streets never really acknowledging that they, too, are humans just like us. That they, too, have lives and stories and friends and lovers and bittersweet pasts. For me, it is safe to say that we are the most selfish generation to date. And there are so many things that serve as distractions and deception these days. Technology hasn’t been a big help, either. I mean, don’t get me wrong – technology is great. It really is. I think it’s fetch. Super fetch. But technology has gotten to a point where it is so much of a convenience that it is becoming an inconvenience. I think you know what I mean. If not, here’s a basic example: Ever felt the need to sleep but you just find yourself at 4AM still scrolling away at your Facebook or Instagram feed? Exactly.

We are so caught up in our own little world that we forget to live. We are all just so busy. Gosh, do you even see how busy people are these days? And the most depressing part about being busy for me is that it is actually being globally viewed as a form of an asset, or an appealing attribute. Busy people wear their busy-ness like a golden medal even on their off-day. As if being busy makes you better than someone who lives a less hectic lifestyle. You greet someone and ask how they’ve been, and then he or she instantly feels the need to say things like “I’ve been so busy lately, it’s driving me crazy. But, you know, I’ve been well”. I know I already talked deeply about this back in 2012 in my article called We Are Very Busy People, but I just have to say something just to reiterate the general idea: being so busy is absolutely unnecessary. People think it’s necessary, but it isn’t. It isn’t even attractive, for me at least.

I am just feeling so strongly about this because I know that when it comes to the way the world works and the way that society operates, the numbers are not in my favor. I sit on the minority side of this topic. Even my closest friends and family know this. But they are exactly the reason why I always feel so compelled to share my insights to the world and to a lot of people. The more I grow up, the more I realize that I will never be understood and accepted the way that I truly need to be understood and accepted. And the more I realize that I will never be understood and accepted enough, the more I am empowered to keep on living this life the way that I know I want to.

People have called me a lot of things: a spoiled brat, a directionless immature slut, a lost puppy, a loose air, an un-contained chaos and a disaster waiting to happen. And I’m not angry at anyone for calling me any of those names. Had I been in their shoes and had I grown up with their thinking, I would call me those things too. But see, I’m not them. I am me. And in this world full of outside factors just wanting you to do what everyone else is doing, I know how important it is for me to keep it real. To wake up each day reminding myself of who I am, so I can consciously stay that way.

So life is pretty much a battle for me these days, simply because it is a constant struggle between following my heart and following what is “normal”, “right” and “rational”. To be completely honest, I am very solid in my ultimate life goal of becoming a ‘beach bum’ one day. It really is my only goal in life. I can write a whole book about this, but the basic, most straightforward explanation behind this is this: I love the beach, and I love sunsets, and I love tropical drinks and people whose best talents include meaningful conversations and appreciating the little things in life. I just love it. So why would I wanna live a life that I do not love?

But it’s not that simple. Contrary to popular belief, living the simple life is actually the toughest goal to achieve, especially if you come from a middle or upper-class family. Upper-class children are born into wealth and are therefore used to luxury and excess and most of them don’t even have an idea of what “simple” really means. Middle-class children, on the other hand, are mostly the most driven children on this planet. They aren’t poor, but they don’t have a lot of riches, either. So the general notion is that they wonder what it’s like to be on the greener side of the fence, to be rich, to have it all – they wonder what it’s like to have unlimited credit cards and unlimited yacht parties somewhere in France or Italy every summer. But that’s the thing: Middle-class people always wonder what it’s like to be “up there”, but they never wonder what it’s like to be “down there”. To live simply. To wake up not to jobs and a list of people to impress, but simply to wake up to the sunrise, the clouds, the birds and the trees. To breathe the fresh air in and look up to be reminded that you are whole no matter what.

That being said, becoming a beach bum requires a lot of work from me. But hey, I’m on it. Every single day that I affirm to myself that I am still the me that I know, gets me one step closer to my goal. I’ll be honest, I wanna leave everything behind sometimes. Just drop everything and continue on to the life that I want to live. For my own. For myself alone. If it were just completely up to me right now, I would literally pack my things right now and go on a really cheap tour to nowhere and let life happen to me. I think that’s where most people go wrong. They always feel like they should do things – a lot of things – so that their lives can matter. But what they don’t realize is that your life DOES matter. And it always will, whether or not you kill yourself over the obligations and goal-chasing that you think you need. You don’t need shit. You don’t always have to be the one that makes the waves. Sometimes you just gotta ride the waves and take time to enjoy the beauty that is our planet. Nature. Love. Poetry.

So why am I still here somehow trying to do some of the things that are expected of me? Simple. I love my friends and I love my family. When it comes down to it, their presence in my life matters to me. And even though they do not exactly share the same perspective on life, I love them to bits and pieces, and I just don’t want them to think that they failed as a parent, or a brother, or a friend to me just because I have life goals that to them seem silly. I need to take this process slowly because not everyone has the instant capability to connect with me about this on a soul-level. The general assumption would be that I am a hipster, which is what I am most irked by. Just because I love the beach and hate society doesn’t mean I’m a hipster. Ok, people? But if you really are THAT obsessed with labels, knock yourselves out. Call me whatever.

So in the mean time, while I’m waiting for that perfect time and that adequate amount of strength to reach my ultimate life goal, I’ve decided to do a research on old people. There’s really something about old people that has always intrigued me. If there’s a specific group of people that I openly label under some category, it would be the elderly. And nope, it’s so not under a derogatory light in any way, whatsoever. Here’s the deal. I love old people. If you come to think of it, they are the only ones around here that have lived long enough to know shit that we don’t. That’s just the most basic logic. With age comes wisdom. Generally speaking. And in one way or another, I do believe that old people are the most trustworthy of all of the age groups. Both them and little children.

So I’ve been reading a lot of articles and watching a lot of interviews about the elderly, specifically about their thoughts on life, love and the way that our world works. I happened to come across really interesting findings, so I decided to compile herein quotes I’ve gotten from my research. Fellas, I now present to you… The Top 77 Pieces of Life Advice From The Elderly:

tumblr_moydz6su3P1qa2txho1_500

77  Pieces of Advice On Life, Love and Everything in Between

(from the elderly’s point of view)

1.“Invest in moments and experiences, not in things or properties. It’s not like you can be in your death bed someday and go “why is my condo unit in The Century not here with me right now?! I need it. I’m dying”. Invest in moments and experiences. Because moments and experiences become memories. And memories will never leave you, even when you’re old or dying. It’s the one thing that will be with you until your last second of consciousness, I believe.”

2.“Don’t look at the calendar. Just keep celebrating every day.”

3.“I make myself go out every day, even if it’s only to walk around the block. The key to staying young is to keep moving. Besides, later on in life, you will only wish you went out and moved more often”.

4. “Exercise, to me, is totally unnecessary. I think it’s mostly overrated. Stay active, and try to do it through experiences that you will remember someday, not some workout routine that you’ve memorized like the back of your hands.”

5. Have as many sex as possible. When you grow old, it is your sex drive and sexual capability that leave you, so take advantage of it while it’s still yours to have.”

6. “Fall in love, get married. Sex is to be encouraged.”

7.“Even if you feel hatred, keep it to yourself. Don’t hurt other people for any reason.”

8.“Don’t ever give up on love.”

9. “Nobody else controls you.”

10.”Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.”

11.“If you are embarrassed to be dating someone, you should not be dating them.”

12.“Do one thing each day that is just for you.”

13.“Forgive.”

14.“Find your passion and live it.”

15.“Most time things will figure themselves out.”

16.“Have a pet. Life gets lonely sometimes. Pets are reminders of how we’re all living things.”

17.“Take time to mourn what you’ve lost.”

18.“Keep going and never give up.”

19.“Life is fun. It’s all up to the person. Be satisfied. You don’t have to be ‘happy’ all the time, you need to be satisfied.”

20.“Love people. Find something to like about the person—it’s there—because we’re all just people.”

21.“Get a great education. That is something that no one can take away from you.”

22.“If you’re positive you can get through it OK. When you think negatively, you’re putting poison on your body. Just smile. They say laughter is the best medicine there is.”

23.“For years I would not take any medicines at all. I don’t think they do much, and lots of times the doctor is using you as a guinea pig.”

24.“Just go ahead and do your thing no matter what.”

25.“Have lots of people in the house and lots of different kinds of people—young, old, black, white, people from all over the world. People have always energized me.”

26.“I attribute my longevity to a great extent to walking, not being in the back of the car strapped down.”

27.“We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too. It’s best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.”

28.“My inspiration is Robert Browning’s poem ‘Abt Vogler.’ My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art, not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.”

29.“Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it.”

30.“Science alone can’t help or cure people.”

31.“This is some advice for the ladies. Don’t marry an older man, marry a younger one.”

32.“I try not to worry. I just try to live.”

33.“I don’t eat very much, but I always eat a fruit, a vegetable, and a little meat, and always make sure that I get sardine and salmon at least once or twice a week.”

34.“Try not to eat anything that’s healthy. It’s true. I eat whatever I want. The secret to longevity is ice cream.”

35.“Quit while you’re ahead.”

36.“[Humor is] a life force, a way of surviving the difficulties of living.”

37.“When you laugh at yourself, you prevent others from laughing at you.”

38.“I think [people] have to be curious. They have to be interested in life outside their little aches and pains. They have to be excited about seeing new things, meeting new people, watching a new play—just passionate about life.”

39.“I don’t care what you’re passionate about: maybe saving Dixie cup covers. But if you do it passionately, you’re alive.”

40.“Age is not a disease.”

41.“Keep an open mind, and things seem less strange.”

42.“Always listen to the other person. You’ll learn something. Try to sit back, because you will learn a lot more listening to others than telling them what you know.”

43.“You have to love what you do. if you find a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.”

44.“Take naps every day.”

45.“You get one family, so stick with them. But it depends if these hardships are financial or emotional or other types. Stick it out. Some days are worse than others, and you have to be ok with that. The night is darkest before dawn.”

46.“I try to take the time to look at and appreciate the smaller things that make this life beautiful. When I do that, time slows.”

47.“Do something interesting every day; otherwise you disintegrate.”

48.“Learning new things makes you happy and keeps your mind active.”

49.“Sleep well, try not to worry, and enjoy good dreams.”

50.“Be lovable. I’ve lived a long life because there are so many people who love me.”

51.“I take a drink of Scotch every day. And I feel great afterward.”

52. “I don’t like stress. I can’t stand arguing. If anybody is fussing, I’m gone. I like to be around positive people, people who lift you up not bring you down.”

53.“Mind your own business, and don’t eat junk food.”

54.“Laughter keeps you healthy. You can survive by seeing the humor in everything. Thumb your nose at sadness; turn the tables on tragedy. You can’t laugh and be angry, you can’t laugh and feel sad, you can’t laugh and feel envious.”

55.“Have a good wife, two scotches a night, and be easygoing.”

56.“It is very important to have a widespread curiosity about life.”

57.“Take one day at a time, and go along with the tide.”

58.“You have to be lucky, but I made the best of things when bad things happened. I also ate prunes every single day.”

59.“Do what you have to do. Don’t analyze it, just do it.”

60. “Take it easy, enjoy life, what will be will be. Sleep well, have a Bailey’s Irish Cream before bed if you have a cold—you will wake up fine the next morning.”

61. “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying.”

62. “In relationships, sweat the small stuff. how you respond if your partner interrupts you while you’re doing something is very diagnostic of how good the relationship’s going to be. If you’re actively involved in reading the paper or doing something, and your partner wants to show you something of interest to him or her, whether you respond dismissively or you briefly stop what you’re doing and engage with your partner is very diagnostic of positivity in the relationship.”

63. “People who share core values typically have better marriages.”

64. “Communicate with your partner as often as possible.”

65. “Towards the end of life, what’s really important to people is to be able to see how their life mattered, how it was meaningful, how there was a story to it that wraps up in a good way.”

66.”Your life is not as serious as you think it is”

67.”When you meet someone for the first time, realise that you know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and others’ lives.”

68.”Remember that life is like a bank account: You don’t want to spend everything you have right away, but you don’t want to be a miser and save every penny. Yes, you’re only young once, but, with any luck, you’ll also be old at some point. Plan on a career, but don’t let it overcome the rest of your life. Take care of yourself, but don’t make it an obsession. Focus on your kids, but leave room in your life for yourself. Save enough money so that you’ll have enough for the future and for emergencies, but spend enough now to avoid looking back with regret.”

69.”Books. Read them. All the cliches apply (sunblock, flossing, travel). But don’t stop reading books, lots and lots and lots of books. Crappy ones, disturbing ones, difficult ones, fun ones. You can only live your one tiny life, but with books, you can live thousands more”

70.”Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependants, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!” 

71.”Don’t chase with your hormones. Attractive people, because of their attractiveness, are seriously overrated. Choose the woman or man for your life by the quality of their character, the warmth of their heart, the kindness in their soul. Really, even if she or he is not the hottest, seek the company of others whose company you really enjoy. The person you marry may be the person who keeps you out of a nursing home. Bodies age and fade, but a deep and abiding love lasts a lifetime”

72.”People will always remember how you made them feel”

73.”Stuff is just stuff. Hoard time instead”

74.”Floss regularly, dental problems are awful”

75.”Collect experiences. I don’t have many regrets, but I do wish I would have travelled more when I was younger”

76.”A friend will come running if you call them at 2am; everyone else is an acquaintance”

77. “Work less. And try to live more.”

I am Not a Flawless Person

I am not a flawless person. Of this, I am sure.

I am not a flawless person, and my mind is a dark place with fire, devils and holes. I am not a part of any charity events because I am often too busy mixing lava with cotton candy in my hell.

I am not a flawless person. I do not have the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect car and the perfect friends. My job is non-existent, my family is a whirlpool of erratic characters, my car is also non-existent, and my friends are sometimes just as lost as I am.

I am not a flawless person. I have a couple of scars on my body, and I sometimes fall asleep with an ache in my heart. I have issues, I have problems, I have a sickness beyond repair.

I am not a flawless person. Sometimes you will find me cris-crossing on the streets, falling off, tripping over, vomiting. I smoke, I drink, and I drink some more. I listen to Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino and Nirvana. There are times when I hate everyone and everything because I feel like they’re so different, so sure about everything.

I am not a flawless person. I have commitment issues, because I am scared of a lot of things. I do not have a pleasing past. In fact, I have a dark past. And people do not like me for that. I often doubt if people could actually afford to let me in their doors and not lock me out forever after a while.

I am not a flawless person. I’m not dainty, intelligent or appropriate. I may appear like I am sometimes, but that’s called acting. Because really, nobody wants to deal with sad and angry people, now does he?

I am not a flawless person. I’m not really cool, rich and popular. I do not own properties and I do not have the perfect face and body. Now what’s flawed about that? It’s the fact that I take pride in being inside my own skin. I like being who I am and what I am because this way, I get to be extreme without being pretentious. And that’s what drives people nuts, isn’t it? Authenticity. It’s a rare skill nowadays.

I am not a flawless person. I am vindictive, rebellious, ruthlessly expressive and sometimes brutally nonchalant and oblivious.

I am not a flawless person, because I’ve grown up being used to mistakes and failures. I’ve never been a perfectionist, and I’ve never really felt the need to please other people. So you may say I am flawed, simply because I do not give a flying fuck about how I look under the public eye. You may say I am flawed because I’ve hurt people, and it’s bizarre that I sometimes do not feel sorry for them.

I am not a flawless person. I won’t be anyone’s prince charming or knight in shining armor because that’s just not who I am. I am not a warrior, a cop or a lawyer. I am not a doctor or a shrink. I am me, and a million other things come with that, just like a million other things come with being anyone that you truly are in this world.

I am not a flawless person, and I have disappointed a lot of people.

I am not a flawless person.

I’m just not.

But I am glad I’m not.

Being flawed is how I’ve kept myself alive all these years. But you know what the best thing about being flawed is?

You get to live, not just exist.

Life, Three Days Later

My Symphony: Ships In A Bottle by Butch Walker

The house

After an unbelievably stressful and gruesome travel, I have finally arrived in Bacolod – safe, but not entirely sound. Eek! I feel like a sore loser already for opening up this blog entry on a slightly negative note. But hey, I just said I’m safe, and that’s one positive thing! But I believe there are always two sides to every story, and this is me refusing to ignore either one. And having had spent at least 72 hours here in my hometown has been very eye-opening. It’s only Day 3, but there’s already a lot to take in.

Let me start with the most obvious one – my old house in Mansilingan, Bacolod City. The pictures above show an honest presentation of how the house looks like today. Six months ago, a bunch of money-hungry freaks (or as most people call them, “professional robbers”) stealthily managed their way into the house, wrecked the ceilings, took all the electrical wires, stole the water tank motors and ruthlessly ravaged several other properties from our washing machine down to our old photographs and my brother’s high school yearbook.

This afternoon was my first visit to that house after almost three years. It was supposed to be a very painful experience, but I have to admit I forced myself to not feel anything. If I were to give credit to where credit was due, I would really offer myself a good pat on the back for at least having the guts to walk into that house without anything but an aching, longing heart filled with story-heavy memories. I mean I could have cried like a fucking baby for all I know. I could have stood there inside my purple room, reminisced, and wept out loud. I could have watched the bitter reality sitting right in front of me and dreamt of ways to make it sweet again. But I didn’t. I didn’t because it’s too hard.

It’s hard to know that the very place I used to call home is now this abandoned concrete structure with remnants not just of bad memories, but of good ones! And that’s what’s so hard about it – that house, despite its being a witness to a couple of heartbreaks and momentary familial discord, had actually seen and heard more love, more laughter and more unity within and around it. And to see it look so old and so tired in spite of its young age is just heartbreaking.

So it’s not just hard; it is also heartbreaking.

It’s heartbreaking to remember the things that took place inside that orange house; those big and little moments that were all filled with a captivating magic. It’s heartbreaking to learn that the living room in which my brother Clayton and I spent hours and hours talking and playing with our cat is now empty and essentially covered with dust. It’s heartbreaking to look at my mom’s walk-in closet and no longer see the wide mirror which used to be always there. It’s heartbreaking to set my ears wide open and no longer hear the sound of home, but the sound of desperation, of this ten-year old place screaming for help.

And my room! Oh, my room.

It hurts to walk inside my room and see nothing but a violent darkness, because I know that that is where I technically grew up. That room was where I spent a lot of time being honest to myself. That room had seen me smile over texts from my crushes; it had seen me wrestle with History and Chemistry textbooks and with endless homework and projects; it had seen me fall in and out of love time after time, and it had seen me move on and start over. It had also seen me dance to Backstreet Boys songs and emotionally sing to Taking Back Sunday’s music and lyrics. It had seen me as I formed my alter egos inside my head, and it had seen me talk to myself – literally. Simply put, that room had seen the best and worst of me. And it hurts to come back to it and find that there is almost nothing left to come back to. I am now surrounded by the fact that indeed, nothing is as long-lasting as we’d like to believe it is.

Every living and non-living thing is constantly deteriorating. People grow old, things change. Nothing new or surprising.

I’m sure I will keep on coming back to our old house over the next two months. I’m sure that next time or the time after that, I will no longer be able to successfully block the feelings that I’m supposed to feel. I had lived in that house for ten years; I know that pain will become inevitable at one point. But I’m ready for that. I’m ready to feel pain for the nth time.

Then there’s this thing with the city itself, Bacolod. Being back here still feels surreal. I’ve only met three of my friends here so far, and I have to say I’m quite happy – happy to see them, happy to be with them, happy to feel like the high school version of myself again, to a degree. But there is this dizzy state of disbelief that’s somehow creeping in. I don’t know if it’s the jet lag or just the extreme and sudden change of weather, but the whole being back in Bacolod thing hasn’t sunk in yet. All I know is that this afternoon, at around 4PM while I was walking to my grandma’s house, I saw and felt something I’ve been wanting to see and feel again. It’s the sight of my neighbourhood’s narrow roads and the feeling of being free. And maybe this is just an illusion of mine, but it feels very real. Life isn’t always like this for most people, but I’m glad to say that for now, this is the way it is for me.

I’m liking this.

I like taking cold showers without feeling like I’m being murdered in the middle of Antarctica. I like walking around our neighbourhood in just board shorts, a tank top and an old pair of slippers. I like waking up to the sound of roosters and maya birds declaring that it’s morning. I like to hear the sound of loud public jeepneys and tricycles coming in and out of my silence spectrum. And I like the possibility that the home might still be around even though the house has turned to ruins.

Because maybe, just maybe, it’s true. Maybe home isn’t a place but a feeling. Maybe after all, home is never between the walls and the corners of a man-made structure, but within the confines of the heart.

Maybe it’s anywhere and everywhere in which you feel not necessarily sound, but safe.

I don’t really know. I guess I’m about to find out.

Happiness is Exhausting

My Symphony: Take Me Somewhere Nice by Mogwai

depression_by_nerysoul-d4ehg2g

The ghosts in the photograph never lied to me. I’d be all of that – a false memory. (Mogwai)

Tonight is one of those nights. Those many nights…

Let me begin by saying that I sincerely find happiness a rather exhausting state of mind. One would think that it is something that resembles a reward of some sort – the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I think that generally, happiness (whatever it means to people) is a rare thing. But contrary to the stigmatized notion of it, happiness is actually not a destination. It is not something that you work hard for in order to achieve in the end. I mean, it’s not even something that’s achievable, nor is it something that necessarily comes in the end. Instead, it is the tiny bits in between the everyday hustles and bustles of life that are pirouetting within one’s self in totally random moments, and for a brief amount of time. Happiness is not the trophy one gets for finishing first, or second, or third in the rat race; it is instead a penny, or a letter in the alphabet, or a piece of a jigsaw puzzle – something of a really small size and value that has the potential to become magnificent when joined with all the other really small pieces, creating a larger-than-life picture.

When I was in first grade, we were asked in English class to write about our “Happiest Moment In Life”. I’ll be completely honest: I do not remember what I wrote at all. But I don’t blame myself. Perhaps the content of my essay was greatly insignificant that even my seven-year old self knew it wasn’t worth remembering. Poor kids we all were in Ms. Gemma’s class. We were so young and we were already introduced to the concept of happiness as this one human experience that beats out all the other experiences; this concept of the “most unforgettable experience” as a merit for having lived one bold, outrageous day in your life. If the school wanted us to be prepared for the real world, they should’ve made us write on “A Happy Moment In My Life” and “An Unforgettable Moment In My Life”. Not these overwhelming titles with superlative adjectives that only blow everything out of proportion. If I could rewrite that essay on a happy moment in my life, it would go like this:

A happy moment in my life was when I woke up really sick and didn’t want to go to school. My dad just finished reading his morning news, and he seemed to be in a bad mood. He picked me up from my bed so quickly that he hurt my right arm. He then said to me, “You’re going to school no matter what.” I cried, and I cried because the way that he said those words was cruel. He’s always like that. He always thinks that I am faking it. Moments later, as I was sadly sitting in front of breakfast looking like a pale donkey, Mom held my hand, and then she hugged me. She said, “You don’t have to go to school today if you’re not feeling well baby.” Then she smiled at me.

If there is one thing I learned in the first year of my 20’s, it’s that life is not simple. And the newest trends in the Internet are making it even more complicated for humanity to breathe and really be itself. I don’t know where this came from or who started it, but these days, it’s almost like a disease to be unhappy. Nobody seems to be allowed to get sad or depressed anymore without getting looks of pity and, believe it or not, disgust. We live in a world where one’s heartaches and problems are considered as weaknesses and, according to the obnoxiously sarcastic Internet users, boring shit which ain’t nobody got time fo’. Everything right now is all about having fun, living because you only live once and attracting nothing and nothing else other than good vibes. Anyone who dares to rain on people’s parades is immediately dismissed as an outcast, a loner, a weirdo and worst of all, a loser. A poisonous loser.

Everywhere I go, every turn I take, I keep on encountering people who implicitly claim that they are allergic to sadness, that they find the idea of depression very unattractive. We’ve all heard it. It’s all over social media, it’s all over the news, it’s all over television. People like Miley Cyrus broadcasting their very exclusive views on life and the way that they want to live it. “That’s not really me (‘new Miley’ referring to ‘old Miley’). I’m just all about fun, and that’s, that’s who I am” <insert loud applause of hundreds of fans in the live audience>. The entertainment industry, in all its forms, has successfully glamorized life and romanticized living.

Stop. For crying out loud, just fucking stop it. Not the media (it’s a little too late for that anyway), but you. You reading this right now, you with the heart, you with the soul. Stop being a slave of society’s sugar-coated tyranny.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sadness.

I’m sick and tired of these hipsters walking around acting like they rule the world for basically not giving a fuck. I’m sick of these optimists feeling the need to be positive all the fucking time. I’m sick of these pretty girls who think that they just cannot fart in public, and these ripped guys who force themselves to not get attached and be emotional. I’m sick of all those highly inappropriate grade school essay topics, and I’m sick of the teachers who think it’s okay to suggest happiness to kids in a single, superlative light. And I’m just sick of everybody who is quote-unquote allergic to sadness. Fuck you. I hope that your life is filled with pure fun and nothing else. Just that. Just pure fun until the day that you die. Maybe then you’ll be happy, but I strongly doubt that.

It’s just all too much. Too much make-up. Too many masks. Too many pretensions.

I swear to god the next time I hear someone say things like “I don’t do drama. I’m all about fun”, I will punch that bitch right in the throat and tell her, “Look, honey, it actually goes both ways”.

It does.

Life is not a one-way street, and people need to understand that. Just embrace the fact that sadness and happiness don’t have to be two opposing forces. Learn to relish in the joy and the misery of being alive in this planet. Otherwise, you’re making it hard on people like me, who actually see happiness as a very separate concept from fun, and who look at sadness not as a sickness but as a mere reality. A reality no one should be ashamed of.

Happiness alone is exhausting. It is only meaningful and desirable when it has randomly jolted out of pain (or nothingness).

Addressing Ares and Constantine

My Symphonies: Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It by Stars 
Open by Rhye

gemini_by_andrahilde-d39edq1

“You smile and the world goes away.” –  Cliff, The Woolgatherer 

For those of you who do not know (which I guess is pretty much everybody), I have two imaginary friends. Well, they aren’t exactly my friends, but they’re more like my alter egos. And in line of my being a Gemini, I’ve always treated these two as twins, mainly because they look very alike in my head anyway. One is basically the evil twin, and the other one is the cherub. And as I went through all those processes of self-search and self-creation, I found that I am in fact the sum of both characters. It is almost like I am both Ares (the abrasive, vindictive twin) and Constantine (the gentle, more open twin), and as I keep on reading the two of them, it’s starting to sound like I am talking to myself – my full self; my conscious self. We are looking at two very dissimilar beings here. One, the dreamer who has chosen to make love to his imagination and fantasy, in what is non-existent, because he has lost faith in reality, and the other, the realist who acts tough but also knows in his guts that he is lonely and is also in need of love—a real one. However, in all their differences comes this one thing I am sure is common about the two of them: they’ve both been hurt big time. It’s just that one grew miserable and desperate and the other grew cold and bitter. I find it very interesting, how these two characters within me throw sentiments of love and grief at each other but at the same time conceal what it is that they both seem to really want. It is undeniable, the dramatic amount of intellectual tension and emotional desire between them throughout this entire existence so far. And today, I have decided to actually talk to the twins in my head in a form of a letter.

First, for my old friend Ares…

Dear Ares,

I dream. I know it’s probably quite bizarre. Kenn has dreams? Yes, I can feel the skepticism from you right there. But seriously, I do have dreams. I have always dreamed of actually being in university (specifically Yale), getting a degree in Literature, getting a job as a junior editor for a Lifestyle magazine right after graduation while working on my first novel, and then working my way up the social ladder, finally achieving my secret dream of becoming a best-selling author. You know, the “right path”, as they say. But everything turned out very differently now. None of those things were even close to happening on the first place. And so I guess it’s safe to say that those “dreams” have drastically turned into fantasies—the hardcore ones—the ones I know deep in my guts I will never ever get the chance to experience in reality. However, this hasn’t stopped me from dreaming once and for all. No, I haven’t achieved any of those things in the “right path”, but I don’t blame anybody for that. It was a choice—my choice. And so I continue to dream every time I travel for long hours across the country. As the sun’s warm rays hit the train’s glass windows every morning, and as the fresh breeze of air brush through my hair and into every corner of the vehicle’s interior, and as flocks of birds grace the skies in all their free glory as they disappear from my point of view, I begin to fantasize about having the most romantic dinner date of my life—the one I’ve been dreaming of since I started admiring people, which was probably when I was nine or ten. See, I dream of an epic moment on a yacht on a warm Saturday afternoon, just as the sun begins to set. And I have organized everything for this perfect moment to actually turn out perfect. There is a dinner table set for two, an ice sculpture that says “Kenn+whatever the lucky guy’s name is”, an acoustic local band I hired to play songs by Angus Stone, Radiohead and Edwin McCain, and a cute little kitten that wears a locket that contains a picture of me and ‘the lucky guy’ around its neck. And the only dominant colors are white and red, except for my suit, which is black, and except for the kitten which is beach blond, and except for the guy who plays the harmonica, who wears a beige sort of vest and a blue tie, and except for the sun, whose orangeness has touched the ocean’s innocent shade of gray and dark blue, as its rays caress the still water, creating an illusion of glittering, shining bubbles and sparkles which, after a moment, begin to appear like countless of golden floating lanterns spread generously all over the massive body of water upon which the yacht floats. And then there’s this familiar sound: the sound of Calvin Klein leather shoes nearing, and then a blurry image of a guy in a red-and-white suit appears. And then I look away for a second and a half to see the sunset at its most colourful, and then I look at the image again and it is now clear: the boy I love, in his most beautiful, and me, in my most romantic. The two of us sit beside each other, looking into the sea, as dinner is being prepared and as the band serenades us. I sit right next to him, with my hand on his knee, as we fall in love all over again.

See? I dream. And I know that I told you before that I don’t believe in commitment? Well, that hasn’t changed. I just said I dream of that perfect date, with someone I love. And it can last longer or it can end the very second after the band played Creep by Radiohead. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I love. And even if I lose, so what? It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.

And now, for the loving Constantine – the less of the two evils…

Dear Constantine,

You’ve always been there. Even on those times when I built walls around my heart, you were there. You chose to sit against those brick walls and patiently wait for them to crumble. You’ve just always wanted to be free, to just get everything over with so you can dance in the air like you dreamed of. But dear, what does being free mean? What does it really mean? I live in a world where there are limits, boundaries, rules. How can I ever be free? No matter how hipster-ass I try to be, there will always be that stinging gut feeling that I haven’t done everything I wanted to do in life. That something is lacking. And then I realize: it’s love. It’s the factor that’s lacking in all of my freedom-filled life. I think that love is what will set me free. And I know that I’ve been quite skeptical about the notion of true love, but that’s only because I’ve been hurt too! I’ve had my heart broken just like everybody else. I just can’t believe he wouldn’t stop bitching about how he could bleed to death if he got cut. Hell, I’ve been cut and I’m still living. Because I still have hope that someday, somehow, someone out there will find me. And we will find each other. And the moment we do, we won’t lose each other ever again. And we don’t have to possess each other. We just have to love. Freely. The way that you love birds, and his sweaters, and the way we love the sunset, and the long drive along the coast, and the way we love the sky, and the ocean, and the breeze of fresh air. And we don’t even have to be together forever. Forever doesn’t exist. But this moment does. This very second. And that’s what matters. A reason to trust in love again.

Hugs, kisses and axe kicks to you both,
From your master

For the nth Time

I look at society and I see nothing but an illusion.

It is as if we are all drugged and everyday we are hallucinating. Whatever those drugs are, they have caused life to become this vacuum; this phantasm “Barbie world” with paper dreams and plastic quasi-realities of so-called success, fun, fame, happiness and power. Everyday has become twenty-four hours of doom. Everyone has become a breathing, walking gallon of toxic.

The

The temporariness of people, of things. The abruptness of changes. The evanescence of human relationships. The superficiality of man’s desires. The misunderstanding and the deprecation of the reality of the spirit and of the very human core. The selfish submission to conformity and conventionalism. The endlessness of hate, and questions, and anger, and sorrow, and the fleetingness of bliss that comes with a string of vile fear and emotional miscalculations.