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.

Newness

In an attempt to declutter and reorganize my proactive online presence, I have changed the blog title and web address: amenaje.com

Only one website to my name (which, logistically and financially speaking, is more convenient for me to handle~), and I intend to stick with this. However, the lens in which I write anything on this blog remains the same. I will still share my Filipinoness that is most unique to my voice and my perspective on life out there!

Will I ever use this name for my own published worked? Maybe for now…