- 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.
Trying to better word this / process my feelings, will delete this block once I get there
- I don’t know how to function without grief
- Every good moment in my life has been permeated with a sense of fleetingness and genuine dread that has been impossible for me to evade
- I wonder how much of this is because of my Catholic upbringing, where I had to barter any time for joy. It didn’t just instill this need for human beings to labor to find worth, but that any act of pleasure was inherently sinful and must be atoned for
- The word ‘high-functioning’ feels like it erases my experiences
- Having to constantly offer proof of suffering
- Talking to my school’s mental health service is like proving that I’m not mad enough to kill myself (so this case isn’t urgent) but proving that I’m still incapacitated enough in day-to-day life
- And I can’t even prove this right because I seem way too fucking normal and make jokes and shit
- The way mental health off days are treated like something you heal back from like a cold, not like “this is a terrible dip from something I’ve been facing for decades and everything will be back to normal in a few”
- Does being so visible necessitate this constant need to show proof of my pain
- Every act of healing I attempt to go on will be compared against this vessel of myself at my worst, the one that I’ve existed in for decades. It feels like I have to completely destroy my old self / find new spaces because I am so so afraid of being that dying person again
- Hatred of this trope in the first place. A drastic change and others sensing ‘this isn’t the real you’ when I know myself more than anyone and have been choosing what to present. New every day; wonder how much of my life is just choosing how incrementally to let other people in on this since people can’t process drastic change
This is my 3rd attempt at applying for the Kleiner Perkins Fellowship, and my public responses to their two 250-word prompts.
What impact do you want to have on the world and why?
Like many, technology radically changed my life’s trajectory. From 40 cent/hour computer cafes to make Neopets petpages, designing (while in the closet) for Manila’s Pride Festival, and gathering people to create silly things on the web with me––I’m now the first of my high school’s history to leave the country for an Ivy League where I design and teach other Filipinos at night. Technology’s ability to draw out creation and make it ubiquitous made me, and so I make it.
In a vacuum, this exists. In truth, Silicon Valley casts a shadow on my Philippines and many others. Its exploitation of labor, instigation of political turmoil, rising issues in digital extremism etc. render the third world a testing grounds. Here, there is no ‘investing in people’––there is little tangible trust in my countrymen as builders beyond Fiverr or Accenture. In short, “men in Silicon Valley shape our tools, and then the tools shape us.”
With co-creation and intersectionality, I want to fundamentally restructure how technology is accessed, taught, and discussed culturally. 1. Internationalization, accessibility, intentionality with markets, 2. contextual, indigenous tech drawing from rich histories even if ’emerging’, 3. more role models than Mark Zuckerberg (as I was taught), or their dissolution as a whole. Beyond utility, also exposing people to the poetics and intimacy of the web––this is what drives people to create. In my early career, I’ve defined this as working with tools/platforms for creators. Later, this might look like working with schools or community spaces. Always, it is building with people.
- To see my research/thoughts on digital extremism, check out my interactive essay: The Punishing of the Philippines.
- Great question as always where I have the same answer but an evolving idea of process/how to get there. Longer piece on this in my blog, soon…
Describe your most meaningful experience(s) and why they matter to you.
- Developh (developh.org), the community I founded when I was 16 to just code games with my friends that has now helped bring thousands of young Filipinos into tech and has brought me lifelong friends. What I learnt about programming yes, but moreso politics, operations, equality, systems, etc. The metrics of reaching millions of people through our campaigns, convening thousands in our newsletter helps––but it’s the 1:1 connections and avenue in which I met my closest friends that I especially treasure. It’s been three years since I’ve been to the Philippines and it’s harder to feel ‘useful’ when working on this remotely, but when I wonder why I build or create, I open Discord or scroll through our notes and remember why.
- Finishing a map for my paracosm Etherest, a fictional world I began as a kid-turned-lifelong worldbuilding project that I’m making an encyclopedia out of. I’ve filled over 40 notebooks with drawings, maps. sketches, and outlines of little stories and arcs on it. Imagining, thinking, and reflecting in isolated systems has let me develop frameworks and systems for the world at large.
- Explosions at the Sky at sixteen with my best friend (artists never come to Manila), holding their hand; a seemingly cliche concert moment that drove me to seek how to immortalize and explain what is ineffable. After this, I fell into music writing, working with the DIY scene, and playing with the idea of design in between service and art––teaching me invaluable things about craftsmanship, art, and community.
- Every time I teach.