My Life, As of Now

{Most likely my last blog post for the year}

I find myself going online less often than in previous years. With the exception of looking up directions on my smartphone while traveling in the city and information on things that suddenly cross my mind and need to satisfy my short-lived curiosity, I barely talk about my life on social media. I do try to update, once in a while, to show that I am still around, for those who actually want to keep up with me through these means… but the past few months have caused me to rescind personal details from public view.

Either I am going further into adulthood by keeping busy with In Real Life matters, or I no longer have interest in participating in this aspect of Life where we are supposed to share snippets of our living as digital posts… but I do not want to start sounding like a a pseudo-intellectual commenting on the disconnect of “true intimacy” through technology. That’s a bunch of yadda to me.

Basically, I am here in my digital safe space to talk about what has been going on lately, in one long block of text–the best way I can communicate my thoughts and anecdotes.


Family Matters

I kept this vague on social media, over the summer, because it was a very personal matter that not only affected myself, but also my family. (I guess it is part of “filial piety” in my Filipino upbringing that kept me from talking more openly about it.)

My father had been hospitalized for two months because of multiple complications that stem from his diabetes, but was accelerated by a procedure that should have helped him but caused more damage and has greatly affected him… That’s about as much as I can say for now. But because of that incident, I had to step away from any form of communication to be more present in helping him recover, as well as helping my mother handle in caregiving and other matters. It was a huge struggle that cost a lot of emotional labor and mental strain, and nearly compromised with physical health.

As of now, my father is doing fine. We are all still trying to make new adjustments to our current situation. Some days are bad, but others are okay.

I was fortunate to have relatives come by and visit/help us out, even for a short time. I had two aunts (the youngest sisters of both my parents) stay with us, making it all the way from their respective home-countries and ensuring that we were well-fed and rested. I had my cousin and her family from New Jersey come by to bring food and company, even to make plans for hanging out on good days. Having lived in the U.S. for my whole life, I often forget that I have familial connections beyond my immediate relations. I grew up with cousins, aunts, and uncles through emails, postal mail, pasalubong, and 2-week trips in the Philippines. So when this crisis arose, I was not sure of how my mother and I could deal with a lot of the responsibilities until relatives showed up, by either being physically present or sending messages of encouragement.

Personal Matters

Throughout this ordeal, I have had conflicting thoughts about what I should be doing. What is a 25-year-old supposed to be doing, right now? How do I compare to others at my age? Am I doing this whole millenial thing right–whatever that is?

This mentality made me super self-conscious when I was around people, or even when I stepped outside of my house. I could not stand being looked at, hearing off-hand comments from strangers, making eye contact, or addressing people I knew because that would incite questions of how things were going. (Well, this is not so different from usual, but at that time, it was unbearable to live a “normal” life.)

The biggest thing was social media. When you are under a lot of pressure and stress during a crisis, you might turn to the Internet for distraction and escape… but that might add more fuel to the fire. Seeing others posting their “happy moments” online made me more miserable and self-pitying of my situation. How could they be enjoying themselves while I’m going through shit here?? Somehow that inspired me to “counter the narrative” by posting random photos with captions that have nothing to do with the image itself–just to vent or to “perform” vulnerability in the cyber space. I just wanted something “real” amidst the flood of “happy” because someone, somewhere, is also having a rough time.

Several people reached out to me, offering to help in any way. I was touched by such outreach from those I rarely talk to nowadays. But I felt that I would be too imposing to ask for help… maybe out of principle (“I can handle this all by myself”) or for fear of dumping too much emotion on anyone that would cause them to walk away. So I just kept to myself, self-managing as best as I could.

But I have reached a point where I can no longer think or feel this way, if I want to live…

It does not matter anymore of what people my age are doing. I cannot keep up with them and I would rather not try to hurry up and risk falling again. I might as well go at a comfortable pace, so long as it goes forward.

Here I am grateful for friends my friends Kristine, Michael, and Seethal who talked me through this and grounded me in this reality, to live without shame and with hope.

Work Matters

So I am not “in school” now; I have not been in school for 3 years now. I do plan on pursuing a master’s degree, some time in the future, but not now. It does not feel like the right time.

But for now, I have a few things going for me. They may seem miniscual, in the grand scheme of things, but they will benefit me in the long run.

  • Since this summer, I have been taking driving lessons. My road test is in three weeks, so I am hoping to get my driver’s license before the end of the year!
  • For the past ten weeks, I have been learning Japanese language and writing. It is both fun and frustrating (it does feel like being “in school” again), and I have enjoyed my weekly trips to the city.
  • I recently joined a program that showcases my talent in the performing arts. For now, I will be vague about it because I have a lot of work and discipline to tackle down. (This also entails consuming less coffee…)

Writing… will always be the same. But reading is what helps the writing to happen.

{getLITfilam}

I do not want to call this a “passion project” (which connotes being a side thing, when I don’t really have a main thing); this is more like my “mission”. This comes from a long-standing desperation to find representation and validation in literature. This comes from a strong hope to lift up other Fil-Ams to become writers and readers with pride in our culture, identity, and growth.

{getLITfilam} is the thing I needed and wanted when I was younger, when I was starting out as a writer, and when I did not have a good relationship with reading books. Imposter syndrome and procrastination keep me from advancing far in this venture, but best believe that I have rough drafts and intense feelings for the books I have read so far!

October, also known as Filipino American History Month, gave me the push I needed to keep going. Posting weekly prompts under #getlitFAHM and meeting new folks online during FAHM inspired me to see the importance of Fil-Am stories in print and in digital format. I have a website under construction, but the social media accounts are active. I plan to fully launch in January or February next year!


One more month in 2018. Like this blog post, I am not sure of how to end this year in a satisfying way. But I hope to make it good.

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amenaje

Blogging since the time Myspace was popular.

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