Pt. 1: In the Absence of Light

May 16, 2017

Down days make you feel like no matter which way you divide up the time you have to wait to make your dreams come true, it’s still going to take the same amount of time—too much time. It’ll be like the suffering you have to go through is never going to be enough, the perpetual struggle you’ll just have to endure because it has started and it won’t stop as far as the eye can see. It’ll make everything seem worse than it already is, make every pain hurt more than it probably would have been in any other situation. It’ll make you feel like you’re more alone than you ever have been, the desperation for company and the emptiness of voids in your heart aching you to the bone, wondering, “why does it have to be like this?”

People, places, faces, times you thought you knew change, disfigure their forms, mutate themselves in the absence of daytime, of sunlight, into something condescending, horrifying, utterly… unattractive in character and spirit, something unempathetic and torturous. You suddenly find yourself lost, misguided and so very alone. You catch a glimpse of your reflection every so often, wondering if anyone else would be as unfamiliar with the face that returned the gaze as you are.

The best you can do is survive until the next sunrise comes, whenever that may be, looking towards the future, anticipating all it has to provide for you. Continue trudging along, wade in the grime of exhaustion and perseverance.

You may inspire someone to follow in your footsteps.

A Thousand to Zero

May 15, 2017

How often does someone see the world from a different view? A better one? A daring one? A higher one?

A city seems so quiet, streetlights winking at you from above, but you see no movement, almost as though life doesn’t exist there. Streetlights on highways illuminate paths carved into the city’s heart, mapping out every edge and​ curve of the town. Cities glow from below, a halo of light doming around their limits and its surroundings are pitch black, invisible to the naked eye, save for the occasional, singular house light.

You would never think much of what its inhabitants do for a living, their socioeconomic status, their cost of living, their food desert, their daily struggles, their contradicting, controversial views, their civil injustices. You can only guess how many of those hundreds or thousands of people know each other, associate with one another, how they better or worsen each other’s days. You don’t know how much each person contributes to the workforce or to non-profit organizations that save the animals or how conservative they are about water and nonrenewable resources.

You know absolutely nothing from where you are.

You can think only of the sheer size of each city or town, how far its limits reach, estimate the population and be amazed by how right or wrong you were.

And when you’re back on their level, see them objectively because each person, each city, each region, has a unique and powerful purpose for being there in the first place.

Life How It Should Be

May 13, 2017

Today, one of my closest friends, if not the closest, taught me about myself.

He taught me the difference between experience and life experience. He showed me the impact of simple gestures, menial exchanges, and how easy it is to be a good influence—it takes no effort at all if it comes from your heart.

I learned so much about people I thought I knew. He proved to me that you can know someone for years and years, yet still have no idea who they are, but you can also know someone for a couple months and learn more about yourself through them than you thought was even in you.

I have never been so grateful and optimistic about anything in my entire life. I’ve always found it a challenge to believe in myself, to push past the idea of the obstacles along the way to my greatest pursuits, to understand why I’m doing what I do. I used to lie to myself, turning a blind eye to the pain I had to endure, having vain hope that the world will be better by itself. I denied that I was in any sort of turmoil with who I was.

But he showed me that I’m not alone. He showed me that I’m fully capable and well-equipped. He encouraged me to believe that everything I do has purpose and it serves me well to continue being myself, doing what I do, going where I’m going. He’s brought me up from low points when he didn’t even know I was at a low point.

He made me understand that my antics, my hobbies, my interests, my opinions, are all invaluable, no matter the point on the spectrum, and none of it should be discredited just because society views them negatively. It doesn’t take your car or your salary or your social life and possessions to tell your story. It takes you staying true to who you are, expressing yourself, embracing your talents and flaws, learning from your mistakes and bettering yourself, and never backing down when the going gets tough.

It takes a certain type of person to listen and to understand and especially to empathize with problems and situations that are not theirs but he has proven to me that, despite my skepticism, those people exist. And, like him, they are as invaluable themselves as the words they speak.

Here at Home

May 12, 2017

Whataburger is a thing where I’m from; it’s a fast food restaurant. On late Friday nights after the movies or early mornings after staying up all night to see the meteor shower in the middle of nowhere, the greasy, delicious burgers accompanied with skinny fries and a milkshake top off a good night nicely.

My family and I had never had it until I was about ten years of age and since then I’ve had countless memories made there with family and friends.

We’d made it a tradition to grab Whataburger after every family vacation since then. After my middle school band competitions and high school awards ceremonies, after practicing parking for the first time, after taking nationally standardized tests, I always found myself there, respectively celebrating. The day before my high school graduation, I grabbed shakes with a friend who gave me a letter there, which would later become one of the most important instruments of my personal discovery. My friends from work or college or even friends my age from high school never minded joining me for late, late night visits after running errands together, or after a long work shift, or after a long day of class. Once, I’d come back from a recording session with my best friend, the future audio engineer, and we got shakes and chicken strip sandwiches at eleven at night on the drive home. And after driving an hour and a half to escape the light dome and watch the Geminids one warm, Texas December, my family and I had Whataburger at four in the morning. Before taking the first road trip out of town with my friends, we stopped by to grab some breakfast biscuits (apparently, that’s a southern thing to have?) for the drive there.

Long story short, I love food more than people.

Just kidding (but, like not), I just mean to say that this burger joint holds a special place in my heart because I can only correlate good memories to that orange and white ‘W’.

Can you guess what I had for dinner after the movie tonight?

Streetlight Chronicles

May 11, 2017

So you’re off to Corpus now, yeah?

Well I’m happy to hear that, you were a great mentor and I’m glad to have met you. You inspired me quite a lot. It’ll be me next time, you said, me sitting in that chair, taking that pin, and lighting that lamp.

I don’t know if you knew anyone else here, but in case you didn’t and no one else remembers you, leave it up to me. I’ll remind them of your legacy, immortalize you in their books, tell your tale, show how you have inspired the next class, the next generation of starry-eyed wonderlings like myself.

Just do me one favor when you’re over there, taking your life by the reins: never forget the inspiring person I discovered in you, the person I look up to, the person with such a history behind them, it’d be absurd to overlook.

Beginning or End

May 10, 2017

Tomorrow, I have my last final of the first semester of the most intensive academic pursuit I’ve ever had to power through in my entire life. Whether it was stressful because of the content or because my peers never saw the bright side of anything, I don’t know. But I do know that I’m glad I can say I knocked one semester out—four more to go.

Now even though I have two weeks off before I hit the ground running for another semester of intensive studies during the summer, I’ll still be worrying about school. I still have course registration, textbook hunting, and, yes, the inevitable studying “ahead” (I quote it because even though I study long before the professor lectures, I’m still absolutely clueless).

Aside from that, I have my life planned out all the way to January of 2020 simply because of the academic calendar. People tell me all the time (the whippersnappers, mind you) that I’m thinking too far ahead in my life and that I need to live “in the moment,” to which I hold a forward-facing palm to halt their blasphemy.

Once I get my degree and some work experience, I’ll be one of the youngest working professionals they probably​ know. Heck, I do live in the moment. Every single moment of my life I’ve lived in the moment. I just dedicate it to school right now.

Besides, I can live in the moment later, when I’m done worrying about completing my education (approximately two and a half years from today, if you want to get to the nitty gritty). And those are the same people who tell me I make them feel like they don’t know what they’re doing with their lives. Don’t you think that should motivate them to plan ahead? I think it should.

Anyway, rant over. I’m off to bed. Goodnight, world. We’ll see if I survive tomorrow.

(Post script: I apologise for the lapses in posting, I’ve been, as you may have figured out, occupied by the finals crunch. Peace out.)

Run Away With Me

May 8, 2017

Crunching gravel under my sandals and cigarette smoke in the emergency stairwell brought back memories from a summer past. The muffled street sounds, whooshing car tires, tossed pebbles, all became amplified upon the open swing of the stairwell door. Public transportation, metro buses, railways and train stations, taxis, zoomed up and down the streets full of locals and commuters and foreigners alike. Discarded bottles and coffee cups and abandoned candy wrappers were strewn across the filthy ground covered in stains from spilled drinks and chewed-up gum, telling the city’s time.

I wonder if downtown reminds you of those days, too, wishing you could go back for a second shot.

Find me at the fountain, you know which one I mean. When you do, we can discover who we are then lose ourselves in time and space after all our efforts. The streetlights will only light the way, but we’ll decide the path we want to take.

Don’t worry about what they’re telling you, just follow what your heart says. Don’t mind the reason, don’t think about the logic, it’s okay to be crazy; we’re all crazy in some way. I’m totally insane for believing this, according to everyone, but I believe in it anyway. I do because I don’t know whether or not I’m right and nothing has proven me wrong. I’m scared to be wrong, terrified, actually, but I don’t know, so I refuse to make any assumptions.

But I don’t want a second shot, I just want to see you again.

Then again.

And again.

Before I Thank You

May 2, 2017

We’ve all had days when we just beg to live through them and it’s one hundred percent okay if that’s the only good thing (or the only thing at all) we can say happened.

I can’t say they’re my favorite—I’ve regrettably lived quite a few this semester. But outside of being assailed with pharmacology and the medical ethics, I have so many things to be grateful for, so many people, ones that picked me up from my lows and catapulted me to the skies, ones who suffered with me, being dragged by our tails through some of the most difficult days.

To say I didn’t go insane on a couple of days would be a white lie.

But I still have a few more days to survive before I can deliver my parting salutations and gratitude—I just need to live through today and tomorrow and every day after that.

Auquel j’appartiens

April 29, 2017

 

If I knew you’d come along so soon, I would have given you my heart on the spot. It’s still yours to keep. Nothing else makes more sense (or less sense) than what fate is tempting me with. Nothing else has worked out for a reason. Nothing else has felt right for a reason.

There will never be another you.

Everything else guides me a step closer to you. My old-fashioned heart yearns to be there, less than a million people and more than a million stars to wish upon, surrounded by history and zeitgeist of the jazz era. They say you meet that “one” person before you’re twenty-one. I was nineteen.

It might be a year or two longer, but I’m willing to wait. Some things are just worth the wait and to find out what my heart is telling me, after so much time has passed to still feel the same, is one of them.

Talk of the Town

April 26, 2017

I recall being a high school student, doing her best to live as much of a “normal” teenage life as possible and utterly failing.

Since the creation of my winter concert dress my freshman year, I’d continued attempting to re-purpose old, worn-out garments lying around, unmoving in my wardrobe. I spent hours upon hours watching sewing tutorials every break I had, constructing countless other projects, learning something every step of the way.

And during my senior year I began the inevitable process of self-discovery. I had ambitions almost too good for my capabilities, and knowing that, I decided to make my own prom dress—what better way to break free of my own comfort zone than to design, draft, and sew my own gown with the little experience I have creating such a project for such a major event?

Come the summer of senior year, I’d begun designing my dress in October (which I later learned would be more difficult than I originally imagined as I continuously changed the design, even towards its completion). And instead of studying for my calculus final and working on my French homework, I spent countless hours drafting and re-drafting my dress out of a poor, old bed sheet, hand sewing and seam ripping until my wrist developed a cyst from the overexertion.

The turnout was significantly better than I imagined, never feeling less than a princess every time I wore it, whether I was simply trying it on for fitting or wearing it the day of prom. Leading up to the event, my friends and family knew I was sleeplessly working on it, anticipation accumulating for the seven months I spent on it. If I waited any longer to show them, I think they might have exploded.

The big reveal happened the evening of the first prom I attended, when my parents posted pictures from my prom shoot, I posted pictures from the prom shoot, I sent pictures to friends at my school from the prom shoot. And at that first prom, (with my then-boyfriend at his school’s respective prom), strangers at my date’s school approached me asking about the prom dress I made that my date went around telling everyone about. The second prom I attended was for my own school, (fun fact: I snuck into the second prom—another one of my proudest high school accomplishments, obviously) and by that time, my classmates and their teachers, my friends and their families, friends of my friends’ friends, and the workers at Ruggles Green all knew about my dress. The second prom I attended, people I didn’t even think acknowledged my existence in school were hunting for me on the dance floor to see this “amazing dress” everyone buzzed about.

Looking back on it, that was probably the most inspirited I’d ever felt about something I had an inextinguishable passion for. It was my crowning moment and it served as the spring board for my most ambitious and hopes and dreams. I had proven to myself that, in spite of the doubt I had to complete such a task, I did it.

I freakin’ did it.