Well, hello…

It’s been about six months since my last entry. I’m never sure if anyone still follows this blog – but if you are and have wondered how I’ve been, I apologize for the absence!

Much had happened within the time frame, but I cannot recall in full detail of what I have been up to. But I am still taking care of myself to the best of my ability. And that’s what really matters,

There was a point where I was burnt out from all the work I’ve had to do with classes and my independent projects, along with the greater emotional tolls I’ve suffered while trying to remain productive and functional. I felt like I was entrapped by mercilessly forces that failed to recognize my humanity – but that sounds a bit dramatic, typing that out~ But in all seriousness, I was feeling hopeless in the past few months until the workload became light.

Recently, I’ve been concentrating on emotional mindfulness by enjoying the hobbies that help me decompress rather than be distractions. I have also tried to change my diet, in the way of balancing nutrients that won’t make me feel sick (acai bowls and fruit & yogurt parfaits have become my snacking desires~). My sleep schedule is still not so great sometimes, as I feel more tired than rested when I wake up. But at least I am no longer taking the melatonin that I would desperately take so I could sleep away whatever troubled me. (I found some loose lea tea at a store, meant to help with sleep, and it actually makes me feel tired at the hours I am usually wide-eyed awake. It has helped me a lot.)

I have also received my first dose of the vaccine, with the second one coming on Monday. I haven’t experienced any serious symptoms, but I do hate the feeling of needles… it’s an actual phobia I’ve had since I was younger, but it is something to overcome for the sake of my overall health. Mentally preparing for the second shot and hoping that I will be alright afterwards.

Enrolled for the fall semester, but only taking one course this time. After what I had experienced last semester, in juggling two courses online (both of which were demanding and heavy material), I feel that it is best if I just do one at a time. Again, I will be remote because I do not feel it is safe enough to commute to the city. Perhaps by next year (maybe next fall), I will go back to campus. I truly miss the city and going to the university.

That is all I have to say for now. I don’t know if I will come back to writing much on this blog, but it will remain up. It is a record of my life lived.

bitter brew

Another check-in, three days after my last entry.

Slowly returning to my thesis project — or, I should refer to it as my “memoir project” because this will technically be more of a CAPSTONE than a thesis… And since this project is coming from a deeply personal place, I found myself feeling some intense emotions because of the potential stories I will have to include to illustrate my overall theme for the memoir. And I am questioning myself if these resurfacing emotions are reactive or reflective…?

It’s been a long time since I allowed myself to sit with these emotions and thoughts. I pushed myself away to focus on other things that were more like distractions to avoid the feeling of discomfort. Currently, I feel overwhelmed in balancing school and independent projects, as the reading list keeps piling up, and all I want to do is read a book for leisure now… then I am reminded how I am slightly behind in my classes, my wandering eyes on the stacks of 500-to-800 page books I have to read and respond to for the next class…

Since transitioning to remote learning, I could never carve a space for deep concentration on work. When I am at home, I am distracted. That is because my home is supposed to be the space where I can decompress from the activities I had to endure outside. Home is where I look forward to dropping my heavy bags, taking a shower, and relaxing with my stories of choice or the foods I don’t have to pay from my own wallet. Since the last time I was in school and now, I don’t know if I am comfortable even being here because of the lines blurring between work and home…

The only thing helping me get through this ordeal is reading Rocky Rivera’s book, Snakeskin. A gift as one of her Patreon supporters, the book came at an appropriate time, when I am re-starting my own memoir project with clouded certainty. So far I have read 4 essays on the artist that I’ve been getting to know recently, and I feel seen as a Filipina woman trying to figure herself out, let alone tell my own becoming story. I’ve realized how much I have used silence as a survival tool, so that some day I would be able to tell my own story without interruption or interference. But the silence I’ve lived in for a long time is one that I am continuously struggling to break out of, which is what makes me doubt a lot about what I am going to do with my project…

I guess that is why I keep returning to this blog space, in case I forget why I am considering writing a memoir in the first place.

Sameness

(Will this become a weekly thing now? Writing a new blog post every week?)

It hit me: the looming anguish that is affecting many because of the pandemic. Not that it hasn’t hit me before, but I am openly admitting this, on my blog. I am not okay. And I will let the record show…

Four weeks into grad school, and I struggle to groove back into academic mode, the one I had managed to build up with enthusiasm a year ago. Of course, it was a much different time, where I could garner energy from being inside a library, surrounded by books, with queued actions to buy coffee from my favorite deli, visit my program director in their office before my class, and walk in to the classroom 15 minutes early to set up my work station. In tow, I would have a tote full of freshly bought books from a bookstore I decided to visit in the morning, as a souvenir that I went there and will cherish the memories of small bookshops in downtown Manhattan. There was a time when I was actually enjoying a stable routine, after years of having nothing close to stability… (That story, I will save for another time~)

This was a fear I had foreseen last semester (Fall 2020), which led me to take LOA. I had hoped that by this time, I could fall back into the academic mode, to be able to read PDFs and books, to write my analysis of the material, to participate in discussion at least once, if I felt compelled to comment. But I can’t. I’m unable to.

One thing I had gathered from the readings in my classes, with regards to archival research: we all leave traces of our lives through pieces of writing. In this day & age, it is digital and readily available online, for many to read.

Let this be my evidence for future readers.

I am not okay and have not been okay. But I managed to keep myself afloat by focusing on other independent projects that gave me “something to do” — but they actually kept me from falling into greater pits of despair because I need writing in my life. That has been a constant for more almost two decades now.

My difficulty in concentration is a mix of not being in a suitable environment to do work and experiencing mental health issues that I’m unable to disclose nor elaborate to anyone because I lack the resources to properly talk about it… So all I have, for now, is writing.

There are days that remind me of feeling trapped. Some reminders of “what could’ve been, had this never happened” (not just the pandemic, but other life occurrences that drastically changed me). The monotony of life I am currently living is making me question who I am, at times, and it is concerning. But there is no one whom I can talk to about this without raising alarms that could potentially veer me away from my important work, which is to tell story and to write.

And that’s all I can manage to say here. I’m just hoping to find the spark that will reinvigorate me to do the work I enjoy again.