I’ve been thinking of writing a post explaining my plans for the next year. They’re on the brink of certainty and it feels like I must speak them into existence – but I just can’t. Everything I have willed in the past months has crumbled and everything unexpected has descended.
A year has taught me how to be everything and nothing. I feel uncomfortably close to Manila, talking far more of it than the people who seem the be there – and the next moment a newsflash reminds me that I now am an expatriate visitor who has sold out my years to another world. The whiplash of feeling irredeemably close to somebody and having them disappear; of years spent burning myself up and the tangible pain of my back breaking when I lay down to rest for more than a moment; knowing that I have done something and these repetitions will never end. I draw arbitrary lines around decisions that will irreversibly change the course of my life in ways my meager eyes can never follow. Somehow I am failing every single person who has ever loved me and becoming more and more visible to strangers all at once. I manage to stay in conversation and send tens of thousands of messages to people who have never known me, then am physically incapable of just talking to a single person one-on-one. Mortality is a dooming thing when I am reminded that all I work and do is as erasable as the memory of me; the latter, despite being ever-irreplaceable doesn’t save it from its worthlessness. For months I listened to a new album a day, then all of a sudden I decide to write about it and can only keep the same thing on repeat for days.
On the television I watch someone die. I read the newspaper and a hundred thousand more do, their names fallen with pages bared to the slightest crumb of their story. One day I will be reduced to a sentence, then a memory, then nothing at all.
I speak this as I turn twenty-one in a few weeks, an age ceremonious that I have never really thought about. (When I find excuses to celebrate, they’re tied to feelings rather than dates and holidays. Whenever I feel good, it feels like it will be the last time.)
This is all to say that I am everything and nothing – that I feel so, so loved one moment and then agonizingly alone then next. I can’t count the hours of sleep I get and feel myself a perpetual machine. Often, I wonder how I survived the decades past and remember each morning that I didn’t allow myself to stay in bed with such acute recall – and go to sleep the next. I’ve never felt so achingly sick and burdened while ungrateful and a waste. One moment I am my biggest barrier, and next it is the world; the world is both the dominion of everyone around me until it is only itself for the fatal end.
I’ve never felt such confounding, complex burnout. It’s shit. I’m reading so much more, sleep so much more, yet am exhausted and desperate and talking to no one yet everyone at the same moment. I was supposed to feel this way at eighteen, not now. How do you reconcile your own being when the world is ending? Today, I feel like I exist in that last moment of serene absolution. Everything is just preparations for the end.
In time, I’ll learn how to think in the longer-term. For myself, and everyone else. Right now is just some chaotic era.