I feel like I’ve aged a lot in the past week. I’ve been swept by scary news around my family, almost-homelessness in a country 8,000 miles away, my loved ones back in Manila in lockdown in a state that has essentially imposed martial law, the loss of life-changing opportunities that I had thought beckoned the fight and narrative of why I chose to come to America, and so much more. Turning 20 in the midst of a global pandemic, I write to you from a dormitory in my campus, now more still than ever. For every student who talks about how New Haven is boring (or worse, scary) is always so mistaken. There are no cars on the street in the dead of night, no lights in the Saybrook courtyard anymore, I am the sound of what is left. * Time right now is not difficult because social distancing it’s hard. It’s difficult because my brain is scrambling for the sense of normalcy prior, even if it were a disjoint existence. We’ll see more of this in the coming weeks, but the impacts of a societal and economic collapse will live on with us forever. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, basically. At one moment I’m chuckling about a quarantine joke about never having been loved in 21 years. In the next, I’m furious about someone’s shitty mockup of a “Zoom University” hoodie that they plan to sell for 17 dollars each to be printed on the cheapest online supplier over a Yale Blue Gildan. I am distant from my family (part in choice, part of necessity), and thinking about why I must live in this day and age and time. I cried even harder when opportunity was taken away from me. I write gentle thank you’s and then become rough on myself for still seemingly knowing nothing. I am my worst enemy. I sleep for 18 hours one day and then 30 minutes the next. I am pining for perfection and self-destruction, simultaneously. I share another document containing links to help the impacted that only 1% of people will actually click. I recede and play Plague Inc. and name my disease “Furry” and wonder if my Car Seat Headrest tickets will be refunded. I wave at the shut-off shower lights as I stand in the hottest water at midnight, I sing in the suite and cry onMore?
[Content Warning] Hello! Around 12 hours ago, President Duterte announced a complete travel ban to and from Metro Manila, my home, to happen in 48 hours. 24 hours ago, I received an email saying that I should get out of campus by Sunday night. (My country is on lockdown, I wrote to them. Try to find a place to stay like family friends or an AirBNB. Nevermind that I am the only person in this building besides the facility superintendent.) I have a fuckton of interviews that are postponed, delayed, or potentially cancelled. I’m not sure what I’m going to do this summer: I’m not sure if what I want to do in life is valid in the time of catastrophe anymore. Feeling uncomfortable on some platforms since several people have been creating alternate accounts to follow me and act creepily even after I’ve blocked/distance them. Never expected that to happen to me but apparently it has. It’s discomforting and jarring.One side of tech Twitter is talking about the implications of creation and entrepreneurship in this time. I am thinking about how I am going to afford groceries for the next months––and I am all fucking for creation. My heart is bursting at how doomed the world is. As I’ve seen, the truly worst thing about this entire situation is how it upended our society–revealed how unprepared and polarizing it is. How healthcare is fucked. I want to believe this is a test of human resolve and that this will peak and then end and we can understand it: but the greatest conspirators are our own selves. This is not a new revelation. I have not been eating a lot. One meal every two days since an awful midterm week last week. It’s strange walking into bookstores with an empty stomach, three product management books, and no certainty of whether I have a space to sleep in the next week in the midst of a university that asks its students upwards of 70,000 dollars a year. I actually self-harmed for the first time in years. The difference is that the validity of this seems more long-lasting (not that my previous ones weren’t). This one is of ire; much more than the Catholic heart compressed in the quiet home of Las Pinas. My self-destruction on my own terms seems more necessary than ever. It’s not even the hurt of compressing myMore?
Starting a series where I can document pieces of media that transform me, even for a bit. The Past Is a Grotesque Animal by of Montreal I saved a comment from YouTube’s audio-only playthrough of this song that just said: “have you ever felt every emotion at once?” I’ve only ever listened to Cherry Peel-era of Montreal works, which took place a good decade before this song was released. Seeing comparisons to Car Seat Headrest’s Beach Life-in-Death drew me to Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? in the first place. (This is of Montreal’s 8th studio album.) And wow, I can feel the influence, the reading off literary influences and hysterics to the clear psychedelic influences that punctuate the track. Kevin Barnes’ vocals aren’t particularly strong, but the composition of this piece is something else. It’s relentless and moving; you need to take this in with a serious listen to feel it enveloping you. I took a walk a few blocks around downtown New Haven, trying to feel the grandness of this album and tell myself that I was worth it. I’ve never heard a breakdown orchestrated like this: as if everything bad has been renewed and transformed and is out to be defeated once more.