May 7, 2022

Reading Time: 4 minutes
  • I am scared of the ocean but I go so deep into it in the night that I swallow saltwater, mouthful after mouthful until there’s more salt than oxygen in the lung.
  • My self-destruction must be its own form of ritual suicide.
  • I miss the girl in high school who used to download my Gumroad poetry chapbook and make fun of it (her email showed that she downloaded it over eight times). She might fucking love this.
  • I love when nobody knows where I am.
  • All I want is for my table to be filled, for the people I love to know how much I witness them, to have people be hungry with me
  • Is this all you’ve ever felt at this moment?
  • Everything that fuels this sadness is childish and stupid…
  • Wondering why I still can’t find meaning when I’ve tried nearly everything that people said to try. All I can do is make my own, the most disgusting form of it.
  • I love when people are surprised to find out that I was very much born and raised in the Philippines—a place I have difficult talking about to anyone who isn’t from here. I love that it’s the source of all my inner conflict—that is, my relationship with home—yet it’s so insignificant and meaningless in everyone’s reading of me.
  • Maybe I should’ve been clearer with myself earlier: I love grand gestures. I want obnoxious public performance, I want to make a fool out of this life until it’s there no longer. An inclination towards privacy and isolation doesn’t mean that some bits can be performed, in the sense of entertainment and function.
  • I love to talk as if everyone has already left me.
  • Every time I grab a meal with someone in this stupid fucking university and sense how every relationship from hereon is just waiting until the next empty meal I think it’s okay to withdraw in the first place.
  • At the summit of a little park you usually hike in your first month or so at university with people you either never see again or live with for the next four years (the only two options in life, really): I Imagine what my life could be like if it weren’t so small. I imagine my head on the rocks below.
  • I love to make spaces and then leave them.
  • Every time I think seriously about dying I buy myself flowers and see if I can outlast them.
  • Stroking my friends’ hand as she texts her family and partner she loves them in her other hand while gripping mine tighter. The last thing I think about here is more of how we’ve figured out spotlights and that pretty soft, smooth diffused lighting the tops of the aisles of aircrafts. Everything around me was someone’s lifework—I needed nothing else to feel loved in the face of disaster.
  • When I scrape together pamphlets, shells, pressed flowers, and the textures of the environment, I come to think that I have a slight hoarding problem.
  • I love being the last choice in this world. Even the last choice has been alive and sustained for so long.
  • So sorry about the lack of presence.
  • My laptop dies in the middle of finals! Last night I emailed my professors about how three people in my plane were injured and brought to the hospital and how I really can’t think of anything! My slow cinema paper can wait a day or two! My professor cries when she sees me walk into class with my forearms bleeding—is this part, the conditions of all of it, hard to believe?
  • When I was 21 and lost all my material belongings from before college I was like okay great and just spending money on all useless things and freaking out when I was losing the money… how the material world gives us nothing but takes and takes away.
  • When I was 20 I lived with a distant cousin for a year who would always give me a spoon and fork to eat with, because that’s how we do it in the Philippines. She would always remember that. I walked around the house like a ghost with disordered eating habits and never left it and lost my mind and though we have some of the same struggles I realized so acutely that year how the way I thought was so fundamentally different and broken and how our languages of love were so different but alike and then I knew I knew I knew I would not make it to 30 with a baby in the suburbs like her
  • 22 and I still speak of myself like a meek child.
  • Crying out loud because I wonder what my life would be like if the thought of ending it wasn’t on my head, every waking second.
  • I suppose I should be proud of living a life so different from everyone else here while still making it to somewhat of the same place, but all I feel is nauseous and null. Is this all there is? I have…
  • Gentler with the world, softer with others, more patient and present—nothing gives. I think I will be fucked up forever; it’s no longer funny. I want to be sufficient. I want to think that I can one day feel understood. I want to be a vessel for thoughts and life; I want to feel as loved as what some of the things I have made let other people feel. I want to know where I’ll live in a month. I want to know that I will not be alone forever. I want to know that loneliness is an enduring, embracing thing that I might be comfortable with—or not. I want my body to feel heavy and to feel that I can carry it, or have someone else carry it. I want to be more than sufficient, even. I want the way I see the world, when I can think of it fondly and without the dying parts, to not die with me. I want the little bits of beauty and meaning I fashion to have meant something to someone else. I want people to believe that nothing is fleeting and that everything we are and ever will be is persisting and just as unique—because we felt this way and have existed this way and so all existences before us will build on this and be made new. I want others to believe that nothing is every really the same. I want to act on my understanding of the choice we make being other people and minds; that everything else is variable but the people.
  • Obsessed with the idea that “nobody thinks of you” as a comforting thought; I like to think of everyone, and so do many others. Many people live lives thinking of everyone so much that they never even think about themselves. Not me, though, I’m writing a blog post about my feelings.
  • Every time I experience a ‘last moment’ I love to look onto the sky, into the embrace of nothing, the only thing that has been there for me this whole time.
  • My heart would like to feel the very bottom of spring.

April 25, 2022

Reading Time: 6 minutes

This is nothing new. I find myself still processing being uprooted from the only way of living i’ve known at 18 & not realizing what being the immigrant of the family would mean. (When I say ‘first’ or ‘0th’ generation and have to explain that I’m alone and don’t know when I’m going back or what I’ll have…) I don’t really remember anything from high school or backwards—I’ve been searching for memories to complain about or turn into stories but there’s genuinely only fog there. I know so little of what I’ve went through but it feels like most of them have been regrets.

At the same time, I’ve never really ‘lived’ a life in Manila. It was simple and droning in a controlling, repressive way. The first time I stepped into a park and public library I cried—I don’t think I’ve ever had that here (and I say ‘here’ and still mean Manila). The closest thing I had to a park was this empty lot in my neighbourhood where we would throw rocks into the sky. Most of the time I was putting things together or on a screen, making more spaces where I could really live. I realized lately that most memories I have of my home are quite painful. Maybe that’s why I don’t think about home often. I still very much miss the painful thing. It’s hard for me to find good stories to tell where I just witness the good thing happen to me or something else and don’t make it; creatives like me often tell boring stories. There is so little to romanticize or miss in terms of tangible moments. This sometimes makes me think I can go and live the rest of life missing nothing, but I know that’s not really the case. I love missing how pathetic and sad I was—this signals there’s nothing much ahead for me here.

Today is Monday, April 25th 2022 and I’m about to graduate from Yale. I’m sitting in an underground theater for a class that screens Southeast Asian films every Monday at 7, of which I’ve attended about three screenings this semester. I’ve probably thought about loneliness much more than three times in the past hour.

My biggest problem right now is having no sense of a more ‘lasting’ community. There is so little to witness me. I didn’t expect to find this in college, especially as someone who wasn’t very present for most of it and was generally too cynical to believe that anything here would like to hold onto a thing like me. I didn’t have it in the Philippines, so that made the leaving part four years ago easy. Now I’m anxious. I don’t know if I’m ever going to find a ‘space’ this time, and I’m tired of being the one to shape it when it’s not there. What I’m saying is that it feels like I have nothing and had nothing and will have nothing. I don’t know what that means about loneliness—perhaps it’s the truest form of it when you’re in that abyssal state. There’s so many problems with myself and carrying the enormity of me feels sickeningly martyr-like, and I think martyrdom is an easy way out.

Lately I’ve been thinking about myself as a fragile person in the ‘binding’ sense. All my relationships are ephemeral and unsubstantial, as I am the weakest link. There needs to be something stronger in myself or in what I do that makes returning an interesting act, but I can’t find anything around myself. The loneliness bullshit is a bit reductive, I’ll admit; there are people around but I make little to no concerted effort to sustain anything. I like to think about the leaving quickly. Lately I’ve been thinking about myself practically, too. What can I afford and give to someone; how can I be some useful utility. I go back to this way of thinking often because it’s mechanical and I can think less about feelings. For six or so years I’ve always been making things and putting people together came as an afterthought—but they’ve always followed, somehow.

I like unrealistic things, lasting things. (Here’s my Valentine’s Day Poem.)

This morning I woke up and watched self-immolation videos. A body can light up in ways no other object can really replicate. This is one of the beautiful things about being human. We burn quite uniquely. The human body does wonderful things when in immense distress: like pull up videos of people dying when in bed with someone you love because you like to think about endings. Two days ago a man burned himself on the Capitol and they tried to erase all the pictures and evidence of it, but I got to see it. I like to watch videos of horrible things so that I cry more often when I see them before me, like reverse desensitization. Reading through reddit comments people like to ask: “I wonder if they regret it in those last moments”, citing all the other posts we’ve read about how those who throw themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge and survive only think about stopping the drowning when they’re in the water. Even in these last acts they are not afforded the sanctity of an unquestioned death; there must have always been something to regret and miss in the process. When you pour gasoline on yourself is there anything left to do but ignite the lighter? I love to be in control of my end. I would have no problem with ends if I could always see how they would go—the variability is the only uncomfortable thing.

This afternoon I started hyperventilating so intensely that I couldn’t breathe. I coughed a sputter of blood and couldn’t bring myself to write an email to my professor about how sorry I missed the meeting earlier this morning because I was dreaming of burning a body and now there’s a bit of blood on the crevices of my cracked screen and how I think I’m going to have nothing after this

This evening I watched a movie where the homes suddenly started to look like my own. Exposed metal sheets wringing the ceiling, aging concrete and splotches of mold at every corner. I miss hearing people speak my language. I don’t enjoy correcting people about the fact that I carry languages—not just dialects and derivatives—worth of untouched speak in me; I wish I was the type of person who could talk to myself so the language wouldn’t die inside and feel more foreign than English.

All these bad things point to a want for presence: I wish there was a way that I could consistently be known. I’ve barely begun processing the city I’m in. I feel so much love for so many things that I know I’ll never get to fully know, and often try to tell myself that you can love a thing without knowing everything about it and I wonder why I reject the love of anyone who loves me for those outside things too

I want to understand why whenever I make a space for myself, I’m so desperate to use language that talks about it as an infinite thing while leaving it so quickly. I forget how much of this life is about maintenance and the art of sustaining something; the interesting thing being the progression and all. I don’t know when next will I be in a space where I know I’ll be for a long while.

Here are the two paths that are generally known to me:

  1. I go home to Manila, a ‘simple’ life where there are people who speak my language and I’m average height
  2. I stay in America, where I find extreme joy out of mundane pleasures like coffeeshops, DIY house shows, trading cassette tapes and live an extremely comfortable life

But living at Yale where I had nothing made me turn towards art and privileged me to even have the resources to explore art in the first place—which changed my life. On the other hand, living in Manila made me want to learn about the great big world and what I could bring back to it, of the things I’ve learned at Yale I have so many.

But I left people at both places. I forgot about the people, rather. That’s the important part.

I wish the inbetweenness of things was easier.

Even if Manila made me kill myself it was the same burning place that I was going down with. Security would feel nice. But I think there’s a truth here: I just want to live through something, even if it’s painful. I know the only thing I want is what I can no longer just make alone. There is so much more that I could have held. I want a memory. I want to be a good memory.

I love the thing they do where they cut the I love you and kill the girl before a happy ending can be found. I love all premature endings and the people that make things around premature endings. I love believing that only an end can transform me.

Some true events

Reading Time: 11 minutes

I would like to become a cloud.

I want to be something in between man and machine: something distributed amidst everything. Something invisible. Something in sync. Something so connected that living feels as purposeful as it does feel terrible. To make the going away and coming feel like it’s all a part of making me whole.

There are even templates to make cloud/water cycles. Just fill it in, jesus.

Water Cycle Process Summary Slide - SlideModel
This is a sample text.

I like looking at Noah Veltman’s “What shape is the internet?” collection: I like diagrammatic and schematic things, clouds, and the internet. I like human error the most.

Noah Veltman’s “What shape is the internet?”

The internet does have a shape. I can barely comprehend it though; and a shape might as well not be a shape if it’s just a distant symbolic ideal instead of something to be visualized and re-rerendered. I would like a way of seeing the vast infrastructure that supports the web at once, or even the simple

Diagram of Internet, WWW, and computer relationship

Last year, I met a boy who told me to try naming everything. So I went and started doing this. We stood under a tree somewhere a long walk from campus and he held his Notes app out, looking at me eagerly for some names. I could’ve just said something like Thomas. I said nothing. He must have been so disappointed because I seemed like a very creative person and he only fucks very creative people because he wants to be creative himself, and then I offered him nothing when I couldn’t name that tree. When the wind blows in my face I cry. I must have kept tearing up during that walk. Now I name many things: birds perched at the fences of the park next to Book Trader, the rocks stuck in the soles of my sandals, the broken soft pastel bits, drinks, markers of time (37 minutes is a bittenty), locations that previously were just coordinates, novel things, boring things. I often take walks down to that hill he brought me to and stare at the tree—everything around it has something to call itself by. Everything but this tree.

In my last graphic design class at Yale the professor likes to handle crits by drawing and ripping on people’s paper and we don’t really get to say anything about each other’s work. One time I gave a comment instead of a question and he tore apart the comment about colors and then asked the person I was criticizing if they knew what a color wheel was. Then for the next person he asked them if they knew what an em dash was. He’s surprisingly good with computers. I spoke with him after class and even on the way down the elevator to ask him about the things he collected, and he seemed to like it when I told him that I like to collect cassettes and the bits of scrap paper & love notes from used books. He didn’t like it as much when I revealed that I rip the movies off the used MiniDV tapes I get to glitch them on my CRT. A few weeks later he almost makes me cry because my design wasn’t scaled up enough in print and because I only showed him a rough prototype of this printing assignment since the transparency paper I wanted to use for it was $2.99 a piece at Hull’s and I just didn’t think that it was necessary to print everything in the prototype at that cost but he did and the TA felt so bad for me she stepped in and then sent me a heart in an email after the class. He doesn’t have a computer at home. I guess you can be good at things without having them. When I get old I want to care about things beyond design.

Lately I’ve been reaching out to people to tell them that I think their work is nice and that they have changed my life but I’m never sure how to communicate the latter part. I wrote a love letter to the owner of the Cave of Dragonflies because I used to study their life more closely than mine, living in it when I had nothing else. It wasn’t particularly exciting but I liked to think of Iceland as a great, big, beautiful thing and thought that I could once sit side-by-side with them and decipher the English spoken on the television—though I’d have a bit of an easier time since I learned it earlier. It’s mildly parasocial. I love the idea of loving something so deeply and leaving all the resources you tend for it there, on the decades to come. I love the casual conversation that Butterfree leaves.

graft: splice a living part onto another living part; implanted, transplanted, propagated; 

I love somebody and we don’t speak each others’ first languages
so we go invent our own. This word means
bird, this one fire, this one cutter,
this one coffee, this one transitory. So
much of our conversation can feel
like correction. I teach him how to
pronounce Adidas, Glossier (any other
girl can do this), and he teaches me
how to say my name. This one means
brief, this one means slower, this one
means kiss, this one means now we can
commit, this one means certainty. I love
somebody and we both love song: I listen
to lyric, he finds the samples and me;
this is yet another untranslatable thing. 
When he shows me the jokes in his tongue
even if I wouldn’t get it; and I slip lang for
only that he takes as language—I know it. 
This one means time, this one means
patience, this one means (and we don’t
even need to speak it) let’s wake up
beside each other. We find words for
objects, location, animals, feelings,
(these ones are the hardest) time.
There is so much we are constantly
inventing. Soon, I think, there will be
too much that we can’t name. So much
of looking at him feels like looking at a
greater version of myself. All good things
tend to feel unreal, I tell myself. So I go
to him and ask: what’s the word
for this?

  • does anyone else make music from the ether?
    • debussy and eric satie
    • lily’s ether is influenced by no one
    • when the air splits in two, sound swells in my head, and the light leaks through.

I’ve lived so little of a life… I want to make things that make me occupy space. I want to stretch my existence into something meaningful and beautiful. It doesn’t have to last. I want something to feel the endurance that I had to feel. I want to be able to better communicate what this has all meant to me; why I continue doing it. Why beyond all rational thought I do the things that hurt myself. Why one action has led to another and why one step brings one to another and impose new ways of thinking about ‘rationality’, ‘meaning’—to live painful enough, but for the pain to have meant something. This is what all great stories of martyrdom and sacrifice lead to, right?

One time when I was younger and coming out of a robotics competition I was eating in a Sbarro with my mom and sister and gunshots came into the mall and I saw people running down the up escalator and flooding the entrances. We had to run out into the parking tower and down into the outside until we were in a sidewalk fenced off from this highway. Two groups of people came clashing in from both ends and a stampede was ensuing. I propped my sister over and then myself (another man put his hand on me to help me get out), and my mom was there on the other end telling us to go on without her. I felt this was a symptom of martyrdom and lack of will. It was the most pathetic sight I’ve ever seen. I told her to take off her shoes and hop the fence. We ran more and into a bus and then got dropped off at a gas station. I went to several more robotics competitions over the next years and whenever I made myself bleed I would clean it with betadine and tell no one.

I am so much of a mirror of my mother: when she would praise and gush and fawn and pose in front of the entire school and then yell in private. I like to do the goodness and the praise for others in quiet and be violent and abrasive in public, because this is how I believe that these things come to be most sincere. Not questioning my mother’s sincerity though; the parts about being repulsed by me were made pretty clear. I mirror the language of love.

A part of me does miss the public performance that we’d do. I was never good at acting but enjoyed the activity in some sense. I loved it so much that I often forgot that it was all fake. Now I don’t really know what it means to be out loud with your love. Now I look back and think of her as nothing more than a child, not so different from myself.

The more ‘objective’ something attempts to be, the more of a human activity it is.

Growing up feels a lot like just experiencing the things that make aphorisms what they are. I needed to feel something before I could start believing in god. Not that I believe in god—this is the closest example I have. Hence lower-case ‘g’ god, right? It could also mean learning what the word ‘aphorism’ means.

When I complain about never having lived a life, it mostly boils down to that. I need to take more from people who can feel wonder and wholeness from something objectively ‘simple’, because ‘gratification’ is of course something we choose ourselves. I think of naming an album after flowers, like anyone does. I think about a body of work so whole to me that nobody will ever understand. I think about myself dead before I turn 22. Many things can signal having lived a life.

I’m hoarding a lot more. Tapes, CDs. I’m preparing for the time when I need to take bits of everything in my life and assemble it into something new; an act I’ve been doing over and over for the past four years. I’m thinking about my childhood bedroom and how they used to throw out gifts and things I liked and how life became easier when I became best friends with girls who never gave each other gifts or gave each other attention when we really needed it. Now I can deteriorate in peace and have nothing to remember them by. Yaya used to play this CD of the Carpenter’s Greatest Hits, and I fell in love with the Carpenters and perhaps with life by it. Sound is my site of memory and is the only thing I haven’t completely lost. If I listen closely enough during the bloodletting, I can hear the gunshot and the rush again. When my room is so silent and I suddenly remember that I don’t know where I’m living in the next few months or who I’ll have, I think about the neverending stream of tricycles and vendor chatter on the streets of Tondo, plus the taste of merengue in my mouth and the memory of freezing Hershey’s Kisses on the sill of our air conditioner until the white cracks would form on the milk chocolate. When the Simpsons movie came out and played ‘Close To You’ I lost my shit and decided that the Simpsons Carpenters’ song would also be played at my wedding. Or at my funeral. Whatever comes first. Except one order allows for two occurrences to happen.

Again I walk up to the highway and stand in the middle of the street and let my hands go so cold that they start clamming and my teeth chatter involuntarily.

When I put my desk up and a project that is essentially my life and don’t know how to explain it I feel intense wishes to make myself more palatable——but I suppose the entire bit about making my life incredibly difficult was to go beyond what is easy/expected and to do things that may only be digestible for a few. And things that are only digestible for a few are necessary. And this isn’t the right audience etc etc but if my entire shtick is about, say, creating spaces for other people to convene in / making it possible for other people to create and then I do all this talk about self-alienation and feeling terrible about myself then it’s quite a bit more understandable that I’m disappointed in the work’s illegibility than a random intensive chemistry major wishing their friend understood their lab work. (I did attend a talk like this and then I stole a bottle of wine from the table.) It does fucking suck though when you’re in an undergraduate thesis show.

Maybe I should sit down and talk to my friends about what I care about. Maybe I should do a solo show. Maybe I should stop calling myself an artist. I’m going to go delete all mentions of ‘artist’ from my page now.

I am so much of my older self but somehow it feels all new. I made a one hour presentation about myself (or rather, my greatest passion, which is just ‘making’ loosely—’making making’ specifically, which sounds more like bullshit). It took me eight hours to make. I had a panic attack when I started it and I had to get high and lay in someone else’s bed to stop the second panic attack and finish it. They kept asking me how old I was when I made X thing, and like many people who bear witness to me, thought I was insane but impressive. Many times I think about how strange it would be if I weren’t impressive—supposing that would just mean that I’m insane. After making the presentation I did step back and think that damn, I guess I really was/am neurodivergent and my parents are really good at hiding anything medically from me and making me feel like I’m shit and that all of that is in my control. Most of it has been in my control. This re-contextualizes many irrational things I do. I wish I was a bit more normal… or perhaps was just not read as a broken thing. Thankfully, leaning this way makes you read as a genius/brilliant in the right company, because that’s what being fucked in the head means anyway.

Maps are already innately very human. This relates to the point earlier about objectivity. Even the way you delineate boundaries and borders—the way you choose to crop the map itself, the place you choose to show and how it is named.

Yes, I regret going to Yale. I regret going to Yale and not making the most out of it even more.

I’m sure this opinion can change later on. I’m busy in the process of making new regrets already… more to come!

A few weeks ago I spoke to an artist strewing magnetic tape over a withering tree next to the lesser-overpriced coffee shop here in Downtown New Haven. I never speak to people. I say this whenever I am speaking to people or not. We had a conversation for about an hour and I turned on my field recorder for the latter 40 minutes. He explained things about pirates, artistry, and the Philippines to me. He told me that nothing ever really touches and that everything we do is just manufacturing closeness; then he paced around me but I didn’t tell him that I could feel us getting closer. I like to see myself bleed to check the color: the incision tells me how deep in my skin I’m getting. He texts me poetry.

Here I ripped off a used MiniDV (the act my professor doesn’t like me doing) that opens with the Crying Nazi. It couldn’t have been that long ago.

Then this family records themselves. The clothes they wear feel like early 2000s Disney; but I also live on a college campus and have no idea of normalcy.

I should go to an outlet mall or a state park to feel the culture again. I should take a long walk until I find something pretty. I should go out tonight and name the things that have yet to be given names. How long have you lived before you really felt the name that was given to you?

Next week I turn 22.