Sugar land

We just flew in Bacolod this morning, and a wave of nostalgia hit me so hard, I was overcome with emotions the entire stretch of road we drove in between sugar lands.

I remember running around, printer on one hand, and a ream of paper in another, trying to chase cars and principals. I remember I didn’t sleep the first night we were here, and I couldn’t wrap my head around the word “sugar land.” I remember complaining, “It’s already 10 p.m. Why are we still jumping one room to another!” And I remember this was only part of a four-province leapfrog shit I had gotten myself into.

The second time, I spent half the time trying to forget the running around and the waiting, and the reams of paper I dropped on the floor, and getting in the wrong van because we were too exhausted to even notice. I tried not to laugh at the memory of someone in the car, pointing at a row of coconut trees in the distance, and thinking out loud if she could buy a part of that land. I laughed nonetheless, because of how absurd and in character it was of her to say that.

More recently: I remember it was raining hard this time, and our van had to wade through ankle-deep waters. Our first stop was a hotel near the city center, and when we had to inspect the room, we were sure someone had just gotten kinky in it. We moved to a hotel that felt like it aged with the city; it had a garden in the middle, bad cell reception inside our rooms, and a not-so ventilated smoking lounge where we spent almost five hours talking about our hives. Going home, we drank an entire bottle of wine in the parking lot of the airport, with a box of Napoleones to wash down the bitter taste.

And now, here we are again, filling ourselves with inasal and chicken oil. I am still fascinated with the word sugar land. I can still feel the rough road and heat, sitting at the back of the wrong van, afraid of getting caught. I can still see the rows of coconut trees and mountain ranges in the horizon.

Perhaps these are my ruins; monuments I’ve kept in my head, in memory of moments I really felt like I was living my best life. (The way I used ruins as a metaphor would make you think I’ve seen the ruins of Bacolod. Nope. Maybe some other time, haha.) (Also: monuments, memory, moments — this would have been a joy to write in longhand.)

It’s already 1:11 a.m. and am writing this now in some place called 11th Street — which is actually the address of our office. A gentle, solid reminder of how, hey, you can never escape the thralls of your workspace.

Time to get back to work.


Like most days,

I wrote something, and then I didn’t. I tried to think it through, and then I lost it. Today was supposed to be different, because I had a plan before getting up for work; I even had a plan even before I went to sleep. It should have taken the form of a full-length movie, it could have even been a short.

But it was none of that this morning. Something, something–not really, and then some. None of the regalia was there when I tried to focus on what I wanted to work on at this moment; there was only radio silence. White noise, they would say, that is supposed to make you feel like you have blinders.

But there was nothing. Instead: an eternal recurrence of falling headfirst into a bottomless pit, a darkness that has its own life. They say light consumes us; but fire also destroys everything in its midst. So this is also that: sparks of sense, and then nothing.

Woe is me

Me being classic me: I’m supposed to be finishing a draft that was due yesterday, but instead, I’ve put to waste the can of coffee I chugged an hour ago, and have spent my energy lurking around Reddit, browsing through old photos, and, ultimately, going through this space. During these ungodly hours, I fully regress to College Iman, procrastinating the shit out of her 10-page Philosophy paper, or taste-testing and writing a review on five different kinds of instant coffee in one go.

Again and again, I think to myself: writing isn’t really that hard, given the right circumstances. Given the right push. And sometimes that push comes in the form of writing anything other than what is supposed to be written, i.e. writing this post, instead of submitting my draft.

But then. What are the “right circumstances”? Is it where and how I am physically as I write this post? Is it the timing of the events in my life at this exact moment, and how I narrate it? Is it knowing and reading about the topic assigned to me, and then think like your principal, and get that shit done before *all hell breaks loose?* Is it me taking shots, but instead of tequila, it’s some cheap instant coffee that’s barely even cold to wake some sense inside me?

(One thing I learned from my previous day job is to never answer “I don’t know” even if I literally–for the life of me–don’t know shit about anything at all. So, instead, answer with…)

I will find out. The answers are there, we just need to find ’em and work something awt.

On that note. Nothing gets me irked like a voice in my head saying everything I write is shit, so it doesn’t matter if this is the first or eleventh draft. I get hurt (offended? frustrated? sad?) when people think that it’s so easy to churn some writing out. Hashtag, sensitive writer alert, but I’ve had people telling me, “You don’t need inspiration to get things done!” or “It’s your job, get over it!” Sure, girl. Some people can (and props to you, sis) but I’m not wired that way. At least not yet. I am not a slot machine, dammit. Not a robot, not a woman-writer-spewing-talking-head, not here for any of that. Can’t I just bloom where I’m planted.

Truth be told, a little consideration is hard to get by when it comes to these things. A lot of compromises are made, but never enough improvements to make things better moving forward. (Not a shade.) (Or is it.)

(I am reminded once again why I quit writing on a blog a few years ago: It’s because I can get whiny and inconsolable. Moving on.)

I hope I can get some nice writing done over the weekend, or at least before the deluge of graduation and commencement exercises come for us in the next few months. I have taken for granted taking photos of workspaces, but I hope to remember all the things I’ve seen, and share some stories with you soon.

Until then, here’s hoping this draft writes itself as I persist through this throbbing headache and twitching left eye.

A culmination

At first, they tell you, Remember when? and then you would pretend to not hear. It was better to forget, everything was fine before the reminiscing. But then, it’s the times when they’re somehow possessed by a memory—that’s when it hits you. Without caution, all at once, right in the gut: a gnawing pain, a stabbing jolt, Remember, almost insisting, and you do, following the thrust of the knife to ease the throb, but it doesn’t help, nothing helps, and you can’t breathe as it takes all the sighs within you, Remember, and you could barely hold on to the Now, and then, Remember, all you could wish for is to hold your breath that’s there to be felt but never to be seen, Remember it never stops, and then, all at once, right in the gut, you stop and we were spun. Remember? When was it?

The year has been rough over the edges, a raw sculpture, as it has always been. The more you want to polish it — because you want to finish strong, maybe, the more it wants you to bleed. It was the usual you win some, you lose some. Months turning into hours; the days have gone without me seeing the sun rise and set. It still does that, apparently, even when we don’t look.

A friend once posted this poem of my Philosophy professor, Eddieboy Calasanz. The poem gently opened with these lines:  Continue reading “A culmination”