Normally, I would begin this with talking about exhaustion. My deflating belief in the world and everything within; every single moment, every single person, every single heart that roams across this planet. That is a lie, however. Beyond it all, there is always the underlying sense of the fact that: I know this world can do it. We are made of tearstains of fight, of the galaxies and beginnings, of lies and the end; but for now we will keep on living.
I am set to leave on a flight for a robotics competition in less than twelve hours. The airport anxiety never ceases to get to me — and the perplexing situation that I am in is further giving way to my unwaning fears. This is set to be for a robotics competition held in Inner Mongolia – an inner district in Ulanqab/Wulanchabu. Maybe it is how used I am to seeing information and details in the grasp of my hand within a few mere moments; but there is literally no information available towards this so called international open event when you google its name. Recalling the fact that literally of the information about this event was given to us through emails and haphazard word of mouth from the Philippine robotics organizers — I can’t help but to worry a bit.
Over a hundred fellow countrymen; going into a country with weary hearts and so much uncertainties, simply bid off with “you’ll be fine”, half-hearted prayers and “you’ll live”. What if this time it’s not prayers that I need but a sign that I matter? A sign that perhaps, amidst all the unanswered messages and missed glances that there is more to me than just a background character in my own life. A sign that my fears can be validated; that they will be more than just things brushed off. A sign that our lives matter, that we are more than the hallway hellos and goodbyes, the one and a half hour temporary residences in places we’ll forever be trying to figure out.
Along with all my woes, there comes the lesser things. I don’t feel prepared at all — this will probably end in wasted time and money and I contribute positively nothing to the field of robotics. The airline I am riding has terrible reviews and hearing other people talk about it doesn’t put me at any ease – lost luggage, staff incapable of speaking English despite these being international flights, discrimination and heightened fear from all the disputes a blink away from turning into a flaming worldwide issue. On a lighter note, my Kanken looks like it’s on the verge of bursting with all my selective choices of clothes that I cannot afford to lose (how materialistic and genuine of me!) stuffed within.
I can’t wait to be revered as a waste of time, probably not bringing back a medal but repressed wishes back to the Philippines. To bring back stories of bad airline food, grass upon grass, laughter and unprofessionalism.
But the truth is — I will hear the same voice that fuels my hatred for living, tug on scratched luggage and autonomous arms, ride on empty post-midnight highways while shivering and listening to the radio broadcaster bid a goodnight. I will pass by panhandlers, police sirens, the fellow confused and lost in the dead of the night; run towards breaking ceramic and stuttering lights. Everything will go smoothly, and everyone would get to pat my back and tell me that they were right and I was wrong about being scared, wrong about fearing everything. I will fall asleep on the four hour and thirty minute flight, fighting through turbulence and staring out at the window wondering why I don’t get to see the world in its full beauty. The lights will disappear and fade, re-emerge once again with the sun. We’re going to find our way out of smog and hatred and go through bumpy roads and uncertainty. It’s supposedly going to be a cool night once we make it to Mongolia, and I will settle through the night with “I made it”, packed junk food and instant noodles. The clouds and radiance will come and again they will say that they were right — I’ll rise again and the sunlight will come, as I.
This is probably utterly embarrassing to others; but hell do I feel this. My Chemical Romance came back to life and died in a single day, and I felt my entire childhood and soul being brought back and ripped apart. I grew up with this band, listening to their first and second album from MP3 players and iPods owned by my family members — discovering the cryptic music video for Welcome to the Black Parade around midnight at my grandparent’s house in the old computer room that nobody ever touches anymore. In a way, hearing their songs had molded me and changed me in a way that if I hadn’t listened to them, I would definitely not be the person that I was.
It was a mix of the innocence and purity of High School Musical and the depth of the upbeat, memorability of the Black Parade, how mysterious and captivating their lyrics were to a young me. I could talk all the more about how provoking and life-changing they were for me, the times I left the song Dead! on repeat constantly — scribbling their lyrics into the corners of math notebooks along with some lines to the opening of Pokemon Battle Frontier. My childhood was a mix of long hours of ballet class, AdventureQuest, High School Musical memorabilia, Warcraft and early pop punk; think Fever era and of course, My Chemical Romance.
When the notification for My Chemical Romance’s new post donned on my screen, it was like my youth being resurrected. The video of a flag waving, piano playing the classic intro that we all know and love (the same intro I used to play over and over in the piano, it being the only thing I memorized by heart), emblem marking rebirth and resurrection gave me so much hope; but also the eventual they could never reunite. They didn’t, and I got to reaffirm all my fears the day after in a measly Notes screenshot. At least they had the decency to crop it.
My Chemical Romance ended because they felt like it had to be. Not because there was a dispute or an issue, but because the band had gone through its course. From its very first album to the healing process of the parade, young me picturing myself as a patient in all the problems you would imagine a seven to nine year old child going through (mentioning my age makes this seem all the more ridiculous) and how upbeat and astray their final album seems to be. And that was how it should be. That phase in my life ended, no matter how innocent or genuine those hours seemed to be – how I taught myself sadness and eventually bore myself into it and readied myself with quotes and songs that I am learning a billion new meanings for now — there’s simply no time for resurrection. It is it. We’ve moved on to better things, we are healing. More than just as a patient or a medical case. More than just a child watching a parade.
We are the parade, all of it, every little action, every short song.
Whenever I listen to the album’s titular song, it still strikes me just as much as the first time I listened to it — if not even more. And beyond all the jokes and how petty it is to like their most popular song, it still resonates nostalgia and learning – but it also carries on to the life I lead now. It is my favorite song of all-time, and will forever be, for the foreseeable future.
Ten years since it was released — it’s been out for most of my life and I had only missed out on in for the first six years, actually. Ten years, three since a death, and here I am, remorseful for knowing that I was lying to myself for a gathering that I know would never come. The child that I was is never coming back either, however. The child that was is growing and learning and has evolved, and has become.
Some things are meant to never be once more. Some things have run its course. We are more than just empty promises and false wishes, we carry on.
To My Chemical Romance: you will never see this from myself. You have heard it a million times. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for teaching me how to fall, and picking me up; to learn that it’s okay.
After so long I have come to understand why we are all so fascinated with mortality, with the end; why we live for our own finales.
We are all so tired of life, held captive by the concept of living and performing the same, monotonous routines that grow to agonize us. We live for a few days out of an entire year; the only ones wherein we wake up and think that nothing could go wrong, the few perfect days that make the rest of life worth it.
And despite everything that’s going around me — nothing feels as it should feel. I am more alone than the world tells me. With most people, I feel like a burden; it’s dreadful and it’s incredibly reassuring to hear that I am not, but with certain crowds I know that I just am. The addition, the side.
It is incredibly disappointing that I have to act like I have something in common with people I no longer see as human. It is incredibly disappointing to be part of a story that I do not wish to be in, when I am trying to find myself in my own. We can’t really choose where we appear to be, or who decides to write us in; and as selfish and hypocritical as it is for me to finally decide — I’d rather not be in anyone’s story but my own. Lend me pieces of myself for my own.
I love the end and romanticizing my own demise. I piece together my own makeshift tragedy, and it goes like this:
The girl, IQ ranging above very superior (I have learned to measure myself in these three digits ever since the old lady, out of touch with the world and my sadness who attempted to piece together why I ticked the box for ‘anxiety/depression’ off in her little book when the counseling guide did not mention how to deal with sad girls and boys who tell them about all their accomplishments yet still mischievously manage to be mentally ill, she calls me those three digits over and over, like I am some kind of test subject) — running a blog and oversharing her thoughts to strangers. (They list this off at the top of their head and their analyst tells the reporter their poised conclusion that I lack validation from the world around me so instead seek of it in empty online journal entries and broken poetry notebooks.) Amateur everything, creating everything but really only her own demise. She says she loves poetry yet the only books she has in her messed complexity of a room are ground-floor bestsellers of middle-aged minorities. (She has no time to read yet loves writing.) Stacked up empty notebooks with nothing in them except for the first few pages. Empty canvases piled together, too much paint never to be used. She loved technology, as evidenced by everything around her relating to that sole field. Sixteen, no ill history occurring in her household, such a normal, promising child.
They will lie and say that they cared, that I matter when I am the forgotten one. They will lie and say that it was a tragedy when it was a gift to them. She loved computers, the sound of rain, poetry, Japanese food, early pop punk; like a million others out there. Greatest fear? To be forgotten, to be a statistic. (They stick four photos of me together in a tweet and tell the world the little memories they have made of me, that I mattered to them and affected them, somehow in some way and I beg to ask them why I never felt it before my tragedy had ended.) So please, do against her fears and make sure she lives on, in the way that she feared and in the way that she never wanted. She loved writing long, rambling, incoherent nonsense (marked down and degraded by people who deem themselves to be professional educators) and was constantly sleep-deprived and longing for something more.
She was never the girl who was in love and perpetually confused. (Love is a constant, love is the reason I thrive. You know who I love and why it burns so passionately. Why I write and breathe.) She is never the case of the hidden things behind the picturesque upper middle-class suburban case. Never the result of “you are going to devastate the family” and “you’ll live.”
Her tragedy is romanticized beautifully, the way she would want it to be. Rain, the sound of computers booting up (that she never gets to hear because her SSD is pretty good) and friendships. (Then tell me why I never felt it?) A blessing to us all. (Then tell me why I never felt it?) More than what she made herself out to be and more than what us ourselves thought she was. (Then tell me why I never could be?)
And the tragedy ends, donned in white and prayers that she never muttered herself. Not in ashes and ashes, the song that she lives by playing, the people who have tugged her heart gathered in a small corner. She lives on in expiring domains and old message histories.
Tonight, I went on a spree of watching depressing, coming-of-age movies all over again with Matthew. The Virgin Suicides and Heathers came to mind and were promptly watched.
A recurring theme towards teenage girls in these kinds of movies is how they strive to find themselves. Rather than struggling with a outer lead, it is almost always within. Teenage girls in society that decides what they should do and what they shouldn’t — teenage girls in a society where movies like this spark their outrages and ramblings, hormone-bottled 1AM rants on how unfair life is.
Whenever I read other’s sentiments regarding the Virgin Suicides, it goes like this: it doesn’t make any sense, there is no explanation for the girls killing themselves. It descends into “there must be another reason as to why they’re doing this!” and that “they’re too young,” if this were real “they’d live through it” because obviously, repression and abuse masked as love is going to dissuade everyone from the fanatical fairytale idealism of killing oneself. It’s why I am marked as a threat to devastate instead of a concern and that help will arrive. It has come to the point where suicide and death are so trivial, so pointless that bubbles are now cries for help and methods of attention-seeking.
And is there anything harder than being a teenage girl who writes in diaries and only gives the surface of who she is? Is there anything harder than watching coming-of-age movies and people finding themselves when you struggle to see yourself in young white actors with words that you can’t picture yourself speaking? Is there anything harder than to be at the grasp, to know damn well that it’s all there is to it yet to be held back and never gain it?
There are countless things that I want to say about the plight of my fellow, westernized, edited six times over transcripts of life stories and revelations. The people around me who wonder why their idea of beautiful, red marks on skin aren’t the ones that I share; why they think that rather than relief and release it’s a cry for attention when I have just forgotten about it all. So many words about mental illness and how disgusting it is treated.
I could see the same thing about death. I am fearful of dying not because of the process because of how I will eventually be treated. It is terrifying to know the disrespect and lack of myself in the afterlife. A passing thought that I used to have would be who would bother to remember me if anything happened, but now it’s more of “I hope people do not treat me the way they have treated others,” but it is eventual and I will be as one with them soon. My tragedy will play out and they will read out selected quotes from finer pieces. I’d rather have it happen sooner or later, I would rather have a message and try to make a difference but we all know that it simply won’t be the case.
1. The End.
(The news reporter asks your sister for your name but she barely has been audible these past few days. People begin to concoct their own connections to you and ways to trace themselves towards what you had done for fifteen and a half minutes of fame. Your seat is empty and they refuse to talk about it until you’re all gathered together in a cold, unsettling pavilion. They wonder what would happen to your seat now, how cold and unsettling it is — how warm and lively it once was. Bursting with life and color, you worry that you won’t make it that way, but you are brighter than ever.)
(“You’ll live,” they said.
Eyes turning, tables trembling, “you’re overreacting, don’t be such a burden, sweetheart.”
“Are you alright? Why wouldn’t you be — you have all the world going for you?” kisses her knuckles and tucks them into luxurious sea-bought purses, her lies have made her kinship.
“Why aren’t you laughing anymore?”)
3. This Is How I Disappear
(He is in the corner of the room, the quivering boy who burst into tears at the reading of your story. He digs through everything and finds nearly nothing, but salvages and protects everything that he can with his dear life. You have only bid each other the simplest of things, he has watched you from afar with a lucid, strange fascination. Piecing together a life of fragments that you have left behind, they world only wonders what you could have left while you were alive.
She is miles away, heart even further. Somehow, the news makes it to her and she takes a while to pause before sipping her bitter, black coffee. Wonders if you like it the way she does, if you even drink it as fervently. Deduces that there’s no way you could have been as bad as her, but darling you are far worse.
They are crowded in the corner of your mass. Resonating within they plan ways to word a reflection they can gather from the one-time event. Your finale is grand, they deduce. But not grand in the way you would have wanted it to be. They can tell by the look you have.)
4. The Sharpest Lives
(Do you ever regret remembering?)
5. Welcome To The Black Parade
(When I was six, he picked me up and spun me around in front of the torching sunlight. I realize that we never know any last times. The final time we are kissed, the final time we step into our room and toss the bag at the corner before they tell you that it’s a burden to pick up the simplest things for you. The final time you see that show, you lied when you swore that you would go for a rewatch, it was as good as you made it out to be but you never found the time. The last time you emit those words, the last time your hand functions as it should, the last time you look at the sunset and gaze at the stars, fingers interlocked and innocence raving at such a young age. I felt like I touched the sky on that day — did you know that? I felt like I would touch the sky over and over, but he eventually got too weak and I too heavy, he only offered to pat me on the back and sing the songs that I loved so badly to me. He offered to sing his own songs, to show me vinyl upon vinyl and play them on the piano. He would move chess pieces and watch over me, tell me that it’s getting late and we should move as the red tile stains the bottom of my pale feet. He lets me move a pawn onto his side of the board and I fervently replace it to be a queen, only for it to get taken the second after. He kisses my ring finger and promises that when I grow up, I am going to be so much. And again and again I have failed to recognize that he was the father figure I was missing my whole life, who is now gone. I see him for a day or three a year, in the form of canvases and roses and mausoleum visits. I still remember how he watched me over with my cousins, as we listened to mausoleums and bathroom floors, notches in bed posts.)
6. I Don’t Love You
(I never really did. It’s been made clear to me this year, and I no longer hold any remorse. Everyone still tells me to cling on, but I have found a new meaning to the word home.)
7. House Of Wolves
(Find beauty in simplicity, white garbs but never the red-stained pools, innocence aghast; when it further proves that we are the purity. What is the truth, my dear world?)
(This is the story of my death, told over and over again. You believe in it firmly and say that nothing else is truer. Self-fulfilling prophecy, become what you must.)
(They always tell you to rest, that you have done so much. Your bones are brittle and broken, your eyes are tainted and have seen a million hues; come back to what you have started with. Be free from all your fears and rest alongside the darkest things that have haunted you. You are angelic, a fighter, a nomad in a world that has lied to you time and time again. But I say, this is no time to rest. This is only the start of it all. There is no beauty in giving up, or in faltering your body, or in giving in. There is beauty in becoming more than what they expect you to be, more than the fears that have consumed you, the insomniac and sleeping pills forced to watch the blinds rattle in the midst of strangers next to you in bed. Do not rest. Live.)
(It resonates with you not because you are the title, but because you feel that you move with them, the words; you fear your own self more than you fear this so-called society, but you fight it anyway. Wonder is a grand deceit; believe in me when I say that you make the system, and it is a fallacy.)
(Purple grass fields and looming overcast clouds, cirrus, cumulus, nimbus; you memorize the different types of clouds and sketch them into uneven boxes, paint them with trembling hands. You are more than just the things you list down as likes. Refuse to summarize yourself into little descriptions and leave the world to find out who you are yourself. Become more than the products of your creation and be the creator behind it. Gather yourself and be proud when you need to be proud, you have done so much.)
13. Famous Last Words
(You are afraid of living.
You are afraid.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t try.)