Month: March 2018

to my dream

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The truth hurts worse than anything I could bring myself to do.

Oh, dream schools.

I made this weird promise to myself. I held this weird sort of belief.

If you take enough time to think when your minds are in that chaotic dearth, you see the sky clear again. You see the world rise once more. You see beauty against pain, reason to triumph over conflict, the light cascading and piercing through—symbolic of hope: in good mornings, fully-rested naps in the middle of the night, good food and the extra pound or two post-buffet, your heart tumbling, twirling, and fighting after the climax of a movie you’ve seen over and over, teenage freedom and believing that you are in love.

What I mean to say is, there are many feelings that we believe are pristine and pure. Convincing ourselves these are unique sensations, looking forward to moments of happiness and sense in an otherwise bland and decrepit world. These are innocent reasons for our being, which I firmly believe are the ones that drive our soul. When I speak, these are the gaps in conversation that can only be filled by what you think of me: what does this girl want to do? Who could she become? What do we want to help her become?

There are those days where I believed in hope. Logging into the MIT portal before I could receive my decision, just hoping for that sliver of faith in its transformation to a student portal—before slipping back to reality. An entire world lies, waiting, severance before I know it. The word on my self-worth before it can all come crashing down on a single webpage: blinking, waiting, crashing down in front of me–four, no, seventeen years of work.

It’s more than a job. I had to go in sideways. I just didn’t fit.

But truth is: I don’t think I’ll ever find my fit. These days, I don’t know where my mind runs. I am in the limbo of wanting to feel everything and wanting to be nothing all the same.

But the truth is: MIT will never know me. They will never ever see the way I could have fit in and contributed, numbers and figures diluting that a bit more–the new face 8,000 miles away in crowds of other mixed people as well. They will never know the sacrifices I made, the consistent three-hour drive to school and another two going back home, the way I woke up at 3AM and lived on twenty-minute naps for dozens and dozens of days. They will never understand the amount of grit and commitment it take. They don’t know the exhilarating anger and confusion I have when listening to the stories of my people, trudging against mud and fire and assault all my life to proclaim the words for people I wish to save that will never know who I am. They don’t know the way my tongue twists in blithe–English to Filipino, flickering for comfort in the eyes of people and then regressing once more like the linguistics of conquered lands could ever be our own–lest they ever be for us. They don’t know the way I drown myself in so many commitments so I stop thinking about my inadequacy in every single thing. They don’t know that beyond “technology nonprofit with over 250 members” it means one single girl doing nearly everything, eating at school for only what? four days out of the entire school year because my money has to go to my organization, my money has to go to my basic necessities, and they don’t know the way my stomach turns and crumbles and the way I’ve sacrificed everything I’ve known for the sake of everything I love and the pain and heartbreak in my eyes when the people around me brush off everything I do, saying “that it’s nothing”–or the emptiness in my body because everything has been drained and I am tired of the world and living the moment the words “we regret to inform you” flash on the screen. No one will ever know that side of me, no one will ever be willing to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars to ship someone so utterly mediocre nearly ten thousand miles across the globe: but my biggest fear is that even if you knew every crevice of my story, the heart-tugging moments and all the pains and endeavors that can’t be expressed in words–I still wouldn’t be enough.

And it’s not okay. None of that was ever okay.
And even with a yes, it would still be something I will never forget. Fuck high school, and fuck being on the brink of wealth and inundated needs that since age ten I had not been eating regularly.

And this is the first time I ever say that. This is the first time I ever acknowledge that something was terribly wrong. And you will never know that. And you will never know every other sacrifice I had to make in the course of high school brushed off as I sit down in the side of the hallway the entire breaktime, wondering where I am meant to be.

I become an empty house. Begging for someone to walk in. A number. Give me purpose again.

Don’t pretend you ever forgot about me.

This is why I write. This is why I calculate. This is why I try to transform the walls of my room into numbers and concrete, waiting and praying for them to make sense. This is why I stare at the world, stray away from tests I spend seconds for studying for and had longed for something bigger. This is why I swore to myself that no other person should ever face this, or worse, like a game against education and basic rights is something we have to pick and fight against every single day.

What I am trying to say is, I don’t know if I will ever find more days. I don’t know if I will ever find more reasons. My mind is a deserted hearth, longing for logic and semblances of rationality. There is such thing as waiting too long. There is such thing as this is too much, and I am sorry. The world is so big and momentous and we can only be so much—until not enough becomes the word we use to quantity one another. Not enough becomes quota becomes privilege over right and somewhere along the way, education is a game of numbers and paper and humanity scooted over financial aid documents, deciding if this child’s dreams and aspirations are worth anything at all.

Now press repeat.

One of the brightest memories of my childhood was receiving a gift from my paternal grandfather: a book of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales. The edges of the book were covered in gold; it was huge and beautiful and I traced my hands over the embossed letters on the front page so many times over and over. I read of snow queens and death, the little mermaid turning into foam and other stories that were grim and dark and the foreword in front that warned of the content of these–but they were made for children, anyway.

I remember the story about the Little Match Girl, trembling in the hailstorm and the vivid imagery of the scent of roast against frail bodies and fragile heads: dancing from the pages the sound of hope and faith amidst misery and pain. I remember my mind entranced around a Caucasian girl, the only story that I had ever connected to. Her lifeless body, bundle of matchsticks, stiff and abandoned and the pre-mortem beauty that she had seen amidst all the tribulations that life had thrown at her. I remember myself going to sleep hungry more often than not, counting coins and bills to be able to afford notebooks and pens.

And as a child, that led me to think that this was okay. That falling asleep on empty stomachs (or sleeping in general to get rid of the pangs of hunger) was okay. To do more “productive” things than eat, and that is okay.

And it’s not. And they won’t ever know. And they might picture themselves as Gerda and Kai, discovering the conflict between good and bad and the strife within both–falling out and in love again and discovering a happy ending in the fiercest of snow, but I am the lifeless, red-hushed stiff at the edge of the road. And I never even had the opportunity to understand right from wrong. And this is all that is wrong with the world.

Here, I am learning how to wake up in the dead of the night to avoid all human contact. I’m dreading the moment everyone asks me if I got into something, telling me to smile at my waitlists when all it means is I wasn’t enough; or thinking again, about how everyone around me knows that I can’t get into anything. How fucking depressing is it that even everyone around me, every single person who has known me and seen me struggle and fall through all of this–believes that I will never make it: the lack of belief in me, the sealing vow that I am nothing. Here, I think about every single thing that had went wrong in the seventeen years and nine months of my life–my existence falling on fatality, numbing me to the core and making me recognize that perhaps someone this shallow and shattered should not have even been given the chance to breathe life in a world that could have loved someone so much more.

In another world, the stars are aligned just right. I am enough for at least one dream of mine to be fulfilled: a dream simply rooted in education, opportunity, love for impact and of the world. Everything remains the same; I am in, I am enough. Here, the stars shine just a little brighter.

heart rates and gold

Reading Time: 8 minutes

My idea of self-worth has often been defined by superficial things. For the most part, life has been a journey of understanding who I want to be and what I want to be a part of–grasping onto things that make me feel bigger and significant. Everything we live through is fragile and empty and I am daring to do something that would make me feel alive.

This is a confession to you. This is part of the footnote, or perhaps the conclusion. This is something intended to be bittersweet, or something like that. This is something you would never read.

I am confident that humanity’s goal is to love and create.

When I was a child, all that I could think of was to write. It was disastrous crayon-on-walls and pen-on-arm, but it was something that I was proud of. Happiness was the tangible stain of ink and the feeling of color flourishing through everything–as if wax would compensate for emptiness and loneliness. It was through the sun with shades on the corner and a rainbow pouring out into a home of bad anatomy that I found gratification: hands holding hands to compensate for the foreign encounters that would feel like nothing, over and over again.

Then, I got older and it became something of an obsession. Code would become a poetic fixation: there was this one summer where every single day, I would wake up, write, nap a bit, and write more. I flooded a Blogspot with over 100 entries, all about different things–diverse topics and drawings and artistry that you would believe that it was written for someone. Half of those posts live with about 30 views, and I am confident that if I hadn’t written that much I might have killed myself instead. Writing is an outlet to which my madness roams free. It is where I judge the grammar and metaphors within someone’s suicide note when all they want to do is scream about death or scavenge for something deep and believable within text messages.

I never had to make anything with you.

It was as if living was substantial. My existence (something that I never asked for, that any of us ever had to ask for) was justified and valid without having to constantly create and turn myself into decay. Late nights spent talking and staring at ceilings instead of constantly turning to blue laptop screens and falling victim to overworking, stress, and third-quarter life crises at the age of seventeen. I told you too that I would kill myself before I turned eighteen. Some days I am so confident of the fact that I’ll prove you right. You told me I wouldn’t do it. If we could talk now, I still think I would.

I am confident that humanity’s goal is to love and create and I am capable of neither of those things. Not in reception, not in understanding–not in the fact that those 100 blog posts are measured for deletion and have grown dead to link rot. Not at all when I have died constantly and felt like nothing, most of those days. There is no beauty in someone who has been rejected all of her life and falls far too fatal.

What I’m saying is: the way you had broken me and made me judge my own body until I had condemned myself into this morbid, perpetual state of trying to figure myself out and nights awake with the cusp of metal–or begging you to turn off a fucking game and breathe for a second the way I let you crumble and fall into my own knees while picking all your pieces up in the morning sun or watch you apologize for falling asleep and tell you over and over that it’s okay and that we are alive and that there is so much to look out for and you are entirely mine and now there’s nothingness and not even hellos and life is so fucking painful not being enough for a single person and not being enough for a single word and not being enough with the sum of my dreams and vocations and ideals and somehow, somewhere, I thought that this could have been some signal or anchor to live. But I have never really lived at all.

And when you give someone your entire life at the frail, impressionable age of seventeen and watch them hit eighteen alone and barely awake and aimlessly well with the same monotonous drone of clicks and bangs while you lie at the same windowsill they had abandoned you and made you whole at, you wonder if you will ever be enough for anything. In terms of academics. In terms of belief. In terms of trying to figure out if human connection is worth the chance of severance or if the threat of severance makes anything more than casual encounters meaningful. Like I can try to navigate touch after touch and empty laughter and joke after another and be some mysterious being that brings herself in and out and then goes home in the dead of the night to send out more 2:00AM emails; disappearing as soon as I came, like touch after touch after touch there would have been something but as I said, I never wanted better I just wanted this kind of pained conflict. I wanted that goodbye at the airport and that part where you woke up early for me exactly thrice in three years and I wanted that pained conversation where you could look someone this colossal in the eye and say that you never wanted this anymore and we both know that wouldn’t happen because you could never fall out with some god.

Humanity is fragile. Humanity doesn’t know what it wants. Humanity is a college degree and alcohol and knowledge picked up from song lyrics and satirical television shows by depressed, narcissistic, and underpaid writers to teach the next generation how to laugh at their own sadness and pick themselves apart before anyone else can.

How unfair is it that you still ring in my head when I listen to certain songs. How commonplace is it that we entrust other people with parts of ourselves–the songs we enjoy, lyrics that we sing and turn into small hymns as exchanges and serenades. We put so much value into arbitrary labels and milestones. First love, first fuck, first fuckup, first regret. There’s not much that I can say, really. I wouldn’t go back. I wouldn’t relive it. I would try to stay where I am now, no lapse of time phasing me, still reaching out. But you would never reach back. It was never that way, anyway.

It was toxicity since the very beginning. I waited a month back then and four months on five, I am almost confident that I would wait until the end of things. I would wait for your name to show up as a guest and a frequent mention on the eulogy, but you wouldn’t even attend the funeral, I bet. I imagine your eyes as soulless as the day you told me you felt nothing and mine when I was worried and speechless, swearing to make you feel until everything wound back in reverse and life had became puppetry and manipulation and interdependence. I imagine you in your room tasting the black char of a body gone to ash, and for the first time feeling everything. The package comes in a few days later and you either burn it or keep it safe. Nobody is sane.

There was a conversation we had about how fatalistic this all seemed. You told me that was the perfect word to describe me, too. I told you that loving the greatest sinners was the most beautiful virtue that one could possess: that true man does not give up on anyone, not even the worst of them. That this meant that I could sell my soul into forgiving you if you were at the ends of the world. It meant that the idea of you was so volatile, that the tunnel vision-drawl at your face and everything else would mean everything to me.


When writing, I gave you everything I could in words. There are parts of me that can never really be expressed in that way; not in the sum of my poetry or online rants, not in the drabbles or the margins of my physics notes nor in the eighteen iterations of suicide notes that exist somewhere in the middle of my iPhone notes and the Word documents on the desktop of my personal computer.

They say that we are worth more than this: we are our passions and our favorite songs, the places we are going and the people we have loved (how telling would that part be if they truly knew our story?), the loneliness in the middle of the night and the gaping prayers or the feeling of dread when we think something is going to kill us in the morning dawn. This is what hurts, though: I have given you every second, something that you yourself hate, and do not regret it at all. The sum of that was something that you easily discarded, replaced with flash fiction and numbers. In quantitative terms, you think of me less and less and I of you much more exponentially–growing, fading, cascading, an irrational pathway with no clear paradigm or roadmap. And god, is it beautiful to love someone until you yourself break. It is beautiful to lie in the corner of my room against your guitar and the things I truly love–to lie in blissful unawareness of being unable to play and only receiving the first message from you in three weeks because you wanted it back one night and then suddenly you don’t care just like how you never cared about anything in your family or in the future or about anyone that could even remotely love you but without the grace of alcohol and the low tolerance of a newborn’s skin. Your laughter is intoxicating but it is the epitome of a boy who thinks he has lived because he spent time reflecting alone in his room, hating the world, and reading half a Haruki Murakami book. You do not know shit. I want to tell you that. I want to tell you that this could have been so much more. That you are no longer the reason for my words but the reason for all of my regrets and sorrows. That anchorage to you would have been setting my life in that futile fatalism that you told me I embodied–because you are everything that I fear about myself personified and magnified to such extremes; you’re like thunderous death and the rasp of fire and the kick of insanity on the verge of living and of loving.

One day, you will meet someone who will make you feel like you know the world at the back of your hand. Everyone around you is beneath you–lower. This is the drabble and dust of cigarette smoke and intoxication on alleyways and streets where privileged boys with sad songs and empty memories learn how to break bottles before they do the world. You will sit on the edge of buildings and make memories that are better because they are not remembered.

You met someone who could have sworn on loneliness and changing the world. You met someone who is everything because they know how much they do not know and seek a world where life is determined by pauses and tendrils of holding on; where human connection is not raptured by another but instead a wonderful, interconnected chain of shared knowledge and learning and empathy but you are one with the flow of feigned maturity and goodbyes attuned with the rhythm of distance when in the end we’re all going to be in the same fucking death voice–my humanity is not a measure of how often we will see each other and collapse and kiss and which girl is the most interesting three shots in and can regurgitate the most lines out of a dead writer anyway.

I never wanted to live in a bubble, and when you said that I realized how far out this would have gone. How I would have been dragged into a life of complacency.

As futile as the world seems, it is worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for. You are worth living to see thrive and succeed and laugh and come back to nothing and the garage door beneath the July rain in every synonym for sorry, and then you will not remember the game you had abandoned me for in those nights where I watched what would have been the pinnacle of knowing one another in a road of so much more.

She is delightful in rose-colored glasses; she is voracious and edgy and everything that seems desirable because she whispers all the right words and all the right thoughts and it makes sense and nobody knows anything, nobody knows anything and I don’t know how long it will take for that to get in your head and I loved someone who would never walk into hell but would stick himself in purgatory and I think I am not getting in anywhere and we’re turning eighteen with no idea of what life is and no idea of what it means to live.

You will meet someone who makes you know the world like the back of your hand. She does not know anything. You do not know anything.

The world has fallen.

Here, you wake up with the only people that can breathe in.




// 2:39AM – March 3rd, i couldn’t if i tried; i gave you everything but i am used to being brushed aside bypeople who have glimpses of my entire humanity anyway