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Standardized

I like complaining about this arduous process that I don’t even supposedly have to subject myself to; it’s 1:17 AM and I’m anxiously waiting for it to hit 4:00AM (or 3PM EST) so I can receive my subject test scores. I realize here, that I am consumed by the process in one way or another. The worst part of it all is that I am letting myself be subject to it, and doing nothing but falling deeper and deeper into an endless, self-deprecating mess of numbers, words, and rankings. Here lies a coalesced ramble of feelings about being jammed into numbers, figures — and wondering if there ever really was anything more.

Thinking back to the roots of it all, I try to remember why I fight. Like everyone else was, at the age of seven or so — I was meticulously crafted to live for the only guise of praise from only my parents. Their words were the highest honor – and still now, countless people live in the shadow of not receiving that pride and affection beyond a Facebook post – flatlining for words from people once so formative.

I think about the complacency held and the endless, regurgitating suburban nightmare. This descent into crisis. Middle-aged complexity of the week: drilling into my son the unwoven alphabet over the dinner table, which brand of orange juice is better, and the optimal drive to work with minimal humps. Then it boils down to me how every story they had ever told was not of what to come, or what they hold; rather, it’s reminiscence at a past long gone, an uncomfortable breakdown of narcissism or glory years. My eyes are so settled on these next few months that I can’t picture myself the same way. Over a table, quivering from the dose of coffee and confiding in my children the stories that I went through — these were the shittiest years of my life, and if anything — I would swear myself off if I live a life where the peak is anything but the end.

Perhaps, of all things — what I have learned most from them is a life deprived of passion, of greater things, or of general open-mindedness is a life rooted in peaking at high school and never believing in the mysteries and ardor of life save for false pews and derelict pamphlets. God save myself being the one handed the brochures. I want to be something more than this. I want to face a world where I am constantly challenged, but also not constrained due to quantities and percentiles. I fight for the idea that my passion will carry me through, and that my belief in myself and what I do will hold a far greater testament as to who I am than numbers and figures.

To hell with the safe route.

People ask me why I want to “go abroad” for an education. Every single time I answer, I still have that fearful glimpse of myself playing safe and doing everything from here, learning some new things and mixing with people from up north and all around the country. Not demeaning the educational system we have in any way, though — I just can’t seem to stand the idea of playing safe. I actually, in all honesty, can’t picture myself sitting here. It’s strange that I can’t envision myself stuck here when it’s all I’ve ever known for the past seventeen years, moreso when I never really took this desire to apply abroad seriously until a few months back. Though there’s something so enthralling about what I’ve realized, too. I want to get into research, fit myself into new opportunities, be a more global person. I have grown to be a bit selfish in the sense of putting the needs of the world above myself — though that would oppose what that means. As if it’s only the feigned “bigger picture” that matters to me over personal concerns or worries, and that my absolution is earned

When I think about it, it isn’t the subjectivity of what education is more rewarding or “better” in the long-term, but it’s what feels right. At the moment, I can’t fit myself into anything but this meticulously crafted foreign student plunged into a new world and culture trying to juggle a newfound competitive course load while maximizing everything around her. Picturing me, struggling in terms of academics, never relaxed but ultimately overwhelmingly satisfied and fulfilled is endearing. Falling in love with the work I do, the people I meet, and everything that I get to learn about the world in a fantastic new blend of culture and innovation that spurs a neverending bout of inspiration, furthered by the opportunities and resources offered at a place I have so much to learn about. Redefining the perspective of what we qualify as a “whole” or “fulfilling” education.

Or, you know. I also have every right to believe that my fulfillment — which everyone measures or finds in different ways — is simply not found here. I can’t picture myself happy, no matter how strained my vitality could be, or how much opportunities suddenly begin to pop up with the blessing of connections. I have every right to pick a fit, and I’m finding a hard time trying to love the very places that the past seventeen years has said that I, along with everyone else I had grown up with, would love and be destined to end up in and leave once more.

I also question the education left here for different reasons.

Not just because the Philippines is assumed to be “subpar” at immediate glance — but it indeed, is shady as hell. I am tired of expectancy to fall into one of the “big four” schools. In truth, what is so good about them other than the prestige that they hold? All my life it’s either La Salle, Ateneo, or UP and I have people around me raised with the same notions that don’t even know where their campuses are located or if Ateneo or ADMU are different things. It’s ridiculous. This is another aspect of life here that is in itself, standardized.

First, I am expected to sit through ridiculous, inconsistent entrance exams that these schools offer no prior knowledge about. Not a single notice of what the test contents are, the timing of the exam sections, or anything beyond “oh, you shouldn’t even have to study; it’s a culmination of everything you’ve learned throughout high school.” To have a single idea of what the contents of these test questionnaires are like, I have to humbly beg my friends who shell out thousands of pesos for books to be thrown at them in month-long tutoring services since, gaming the national college admission system and creating a monopoly out of being the only reliable source of questions that have any sort of semblance to the insanity that is these standardized tests are is a recipe for richness. Is it not the very least concerning that admissions offices are giving crucial announcements over social media, are on the borderline of unreachable, treat college tours like a joke in answering the questions of their applicants, and genuinely give very, very poor information are overruled by the power of “word of mouth” on what is actually on the tests? Since I didn’t particularly latch on to a token degree and path here, I never had the opportunity to have peers or elders dig into me about how amazing their college was or what I should be knowing for a test that should perhaps, take a step forward in having it distinctly laid out.

In defense of the Common App-ruled admissions game, I have gained a lot more respect for essays and writing supplements beyond deciding which students are worthy of an education through mere systematic beatings from numbers. Not that there are a lot of problems latent with plagiarism, fraud, or the disparity and step backwards for poor writers with better numbers — but a holistic process is so much more appealing and makes rejection a little more cruel (seeing that they see words that you poured your heart out on, spent the past three months editing and then the last two weeks rewriting constantly before reverting to the third draft from two months back) and acceptance a lot more rewarding. There are certain educational systems here that don’t even bother asking you for your activities. It’s just… your score on their standardized test (poorly constructed and is quite a terrible indicator for success in college), percentile rank, high school transcript (not even one that is viewed in terms of rigor — hello grade inflation and easy classes). In defense of such a ridiculous system that seems so overtly and complex and arduous, at least this gives people a fighting chance and makes us seem more like numbers rather than a spreadsheet of scores to decide upon. After spending countless hours writing these essays, waking up in cold sweat in the dead of the night and deciding to rewrite them after sparking of an idea, or still trembling to write a complete and coherent Common Application essay even until now — it feels dehumanizing and empty to only have to report a 1×1 ID picture and some numbers for the biggest and best colleges that are here. Although it’s an admission officer’s game, who is to say that I don’t have the right to bear some hesitations and concerns when the decision is made as easily as that — without consideration as to who the person behind the numbers is, or what one with the lack thereof can do when words can tell so much more than figures?

Not now.

Life owes me some sort of pause in how quick everything is paced. Yet, beyond every struggle and trial, every doubt and mishap, I go through every single day just thinking a bit more that I really am not fit for life here, not quite yet. I want to spend my education basking in how much harder everything is going to be, and how I should probably be a little less social awkward to get a campus job to help sustain my financial needs and how I really have to be working on my paper and oh gosh how do I get to office hours and ask questions without looking too dumb and being shy as hell in everything — sort of masochistic how I want to suffer and strain myself both psychologically, emotionally, and mentally. I can name universities that I believe I could offer something new in and would love to beg for financial aid to have a chance to show that, if I could. I can name places and why I have began to love them and converse with strangers from around the world. They talk about what small little things make their place… theirs, and I feel some longing to call it mine one day, too. I think about the diversity of people, the endless opportunities, and everything I could bring back here once changing again. Maybe it’s my love for research and how I want to experience the glory of a well-endowed (😉) place with people who truly love what they do and do so beyond the need for requirements. Maybe it’s wanting to be with the brightest from all-around and fuel my overachieving hollow shell. Maybe it’s because I have stupid daydreams about being there, and having a hard time, but still — no matter how hard I feel I’ll fall academically, or how quiet and fearful I would be, I can picture myself rising, believing, and having no one but an unyielding mind and spirit to push me forward. In the end, no matter how terrifying I feel it will be, I still believe in the decision of someone who had passed by countless seventeen-year olds and decided that there was enough spark in me to give me a chance. Beyond that, damn — it makes me smile when I think of what I could become, and how I could see the world, and how it would never, in a four-year or so journey be easy, which is exactly the way I want it to be.


Earlier, I was considering starting a college admissions process blog for international applicants. Then, I came to my senses and realized that was probably not the best idea when I am still struggling myself and the fact that it’s also November and deep into the process and I only have a slightly larger idea of what I am doing at all.

I signed up for three subject tests, Literature, Math 2, and Physics on the fourth of November but ended up only taking the first two since I was pretty fearful for Physics. It’s two minutes til score release and I am afraid. I took the ACT the Saturday before that and felt pretty decently about it, which almost always amounts to something bad — and still haven’t received my score on the Friday after the first score release; this either means that something went terribly wrong, or ACT just decided to bless me with a dose of anxiety and uncertainty after already initially delaying the scores.

Studying is a mess, or rather, I am. It’s fun to me, actually. But not when I attempt to cram formulas into a graphing calculator I just bought that ends up getting its memory wiped. Or when I deplete three yellow pads in quick succession. Or when I attempt to cram everything in the Physics subject test in two days because of how impossible it is to study in such a deluded environment.

I am not, at all, deserving of scores with how lightly I have been treating test prep. It’s bordering on miraculous how I’m still persevering for an abundance of reaches with how little I seem to have been doing. I waltz in to tests only having prepared the week beforehand and lightly so on the weekends, but neglecting everything else. My life is a complete and utter haze, and I have no idea what has been going on between these standardized tests. They’re marks of months and time for me, wake up calls. The next one is in exactly two weeks, where I take Physics and… Math II again? Literature? Depending on how I do with the scores I was supposed to see sixteen minutes ago. Physics is for the sole purpose of being able to apply to those insane dream schools that need a science score, which means MIT and only MIT, of course.

Holistic, right? This piece of me isn’t that attractive. One of the things I wish I could have told myself sooner, or have been forced to do beforehand is to begin taking subject tests and standardized tests early so that the cost could be spread out over time and that I wouldn’t be burning myself out in the blaze of college admissions through simultaneously mashing optics and harmonics formulas in my head while thinking about why Babson would want me in a wonderful, unequivocal assertion of my love for them through lyric and short supplements. Though I can spout everything I want about passion and what I have done in the past, something that I never realized would be the inadequacy of certain scores holding me back. Physics holding me back from the dreamy stupor of a school that I know I would be ripping myself apart (in all the good ways) in, or the disappointment and shame in sending my initial SAT take (rest in peace) to places that require all their scores.

Not that it’s a complete dealbreaker, but it sure close is to. The process isn’t pretty. Falling asleep for a total of twenty minutes and feeling like you’re on the brink of collapse right after the sixth math question with fifty-four to go isn’t the way to do it. Feeling lost and fear and anxiety refreshing and refreshing over and over again, tossing away and trading away the words that I could have offered these places because scores are barring me is one thing. I should have tried sooner, I should have tried harder — even months back. It pains me, but I have two weeks to go before the last tests that determine if I have a shot or not. You can bet that I’m making the most out of them, and that even if that admissions officer is going to just stand perplexed at that transcript; the only action that I can do after all the regret and mourning of a future (hypothetically) would be to not have tried. I am beyond a game of luck and the hours of sleep that could have changed everything — but at the same time, you can be assured that the same mistakes won’t be repeated once more in two weeks time.


It’s often kind of ridiculous how torn I am by the standards a seventeen-year old can abide by. Not that I’m using my age as a pass for anything, as I turned it around half a year ago, but it just hit me. Coming to me is that boundary where the things I do are no longer particularly impressive (past sixteen, it doesn’t really seem to matter, doesn’t it?) and where I’m expected to act like an adult. There are people out there driving metal machines of death that can’t pass a calculus test — and you could argue that there’s no correlation or requirement for one to be successful at one without having the other, but it’s insane to think about.

Expediting it all is probably the college admissions process. I stumble upon articles where residents in the United States dish out tens of thousands of dollars to turn themselves into a perfectly crafted machine — a mess of research, sports, music, activities, and connections to culminate in a two-minute reading that decides the rest of their future. It is terrifying enough to be consolidated in a sheet of paper, words that you give out highlighted and ranked, your scores over the past four years scoffed at, and to await judgement and see if you’re even worth receiving an education. Here, a stupid ass high school student from the third-world expects that her life could mean anything more than a rejection when standing next to people who have either orchestrated their lives for it, or are just so naturally brilliant and genius, slathered with the blend of perfect opportunity and chance to make it.

Hating to admit it, I do stand with that bit of pretentious “better than you” mentality. Beneath it all, I think about the underlying fact that we’re all something more. I wish for my story to make a difference. I wish for the world around me to succumb to my wishes at times, too, and believe in me; the me that I can present on paper and have strived to perfect over the last few months.

Whatever is happening, I think that I’m going somewhere, though. I emailed my MIT interviewer on a whim at 2AM. I’m writing essays, rethinking myself, and still wanting to do more beyond requirements and beyond dousing things over my CV. I do things because I believe in them, and perhaps they’ll see that too — beyond test scores, lack of rigor, and strange inflation, there is a light that never goes out. Left in me to lie beneath “you have to show, don’t just tell” and “ditch the generic topics” is everything that I am. There’s not much I can do but hope they see that I have some vigor and unyielding fight, but so do so many other talented, hopeful seventeen-year olds out there. Let the game of luck and thousands of dollars go to something for a reason, hoping that one of those two-minute readers out of dozens sees that glint that I’ve been igniting for the past, hazy and insignificant seventeen years.

Tales from Uzushiogakure

I used to scoff a lot at the fact that I had no binding attachment to some oversaturated series on the market. The engorged entitlement in estranged mothers and fathers bringing home Harry Potter box sets or superhero pop figurines to fulfill their childrens’ temporary obsessions didn’t really compare to my interest in just making things on my own, or my faint interest that lacked that touch of physical satiation — the kind that would let me bring the toys to school and gain some self-confidence with that sweet, unrivaled fifteen minutes of classroom fame. After all, when Lisa Frank and sticker-ridden clearbooks lost their marvel, the only thing that could account for such was that market validation.

Then, I remember that I did have something in my youth, actually. Except it falls on the entire premise of being a complete and utter weeaboo. I then remember that at age seventeen, I am literally as captive to it as I was at the age of ten. I can’t help but to bring it up due to the influx of joke Facebook event pages that just scream out “Run like Boruto’s Dad!” with the unwavering support of both passerby and people who had grown up with this strange and utter mess of a show. I remember being around the age of eight — the High School Musical phase dying down and paving way to my onslaught towards that “liking boy-stuff is cool” mindset that my unmonitored usage of the internet had imposed on me. I’d turn on 9PM runs of Cartoon Network despite my complete lack of interest in Ben 10 — waiting for about 10 or 11PM where I would begin my nightly beg for my parents to let me watch Naruto. In utter defense for the long wait I would proclaim that I was done with all my homework or that I hadn’t actually been watching the past five or so shows anyway. It is Naruto, after all. Thus began its intertwine in my life, and how it had passively molded me throughout all these years; with the growth of the series came mine as well.

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on college admissions and capability

The beginning of August sought an issue that I would never have dreamed of going through — or understood the rigor of. Journeying into the US college admissions journey as an international student that only knew of universities like Harvard and Stanford from western TV shows, Legally Blonde, and obscure chick flicks (Sydney White, etc.) is definitely, without a doubt, one of the most stimulating challenges I’ve faced thus far. As shallow as that may sound, being thrusted into a season with the potential for the entire course of your life to change is exhilerating, frightening, and quite frankly, nerve-wracking. Last week kind of marked the beginning of literally nightly existential crises — of which I deeply apologize to all my friends for having to witness, as well as my organization mates, and slowly but surely, everyone around me as well — like the dawn of the end.

I still have dreams; the kind where I picture myself in full-fledged comfort, where ambition is synonymous to reality and all the ideas I have can be made in a reality. These are the usual daydreams and all — but as for any outright grasp on what the future holds — I remain at a loss.

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overachiever fever

I am sinking my guts as fervently as I feel the pen sliding across my throat, twisting my organs, slithering across a paper of items I do not understand. My mind flashes back to every single failure that we have ever sung. Every lapse of ungreatness and unfulfilled fervor is a crime to humanity. An unabiding dishonor of traipse for the ones who carry my name to lament. This is a foul cry for the ones who do not deserve to do so — whittled down to self-depreciation at the instant.

Wherever it started, whatever had happened — they’ve all clung to this despondent nothingness. A melancholia for the person that I had never been, not once a sign of forgiveness for the person that I could be. We are destined, intertwined, by faith and numbers and chance and cash and time and lovers and passion and spirit and uncountable things that remain out of our control; as we are destined by faith to crash and die. My fondest memories from my childhood were not of my victories; never the dances for participation medals on stage or the old photobook memories that I never knew were captured for visiting passersby to giggle at and condemn their own children for. I vividly recall my mind turmoiling, twisting, turning, attempting to unravel the way numbers and foreign symbols were put together. Sort of the same kind that happens when I try to speak – English, my fond darling, a lost trickster descending on the tips of my tongue and stealing away the full voracity of what once was. It boils down to sitting down, the breeze of an air conditioner in a once familial home and listening to an estranged cousin laughing at numbers and formulas and things that I do not understand. Running it again in an old machine and collapsing over combinations of letters and formulas and unknown meanings — I’ve torn down cities but the inability to grasp because I do not know is what crumbles everything that I had ever built up.

Devout non-believer in my ability to succeed; I swear to god that all my problems are the riddled inconsequential. It is like every manifestation of my fear is churned down, it is like I am a master of deceit to the outside when I have trouble explaining my own head to myself. It is like I do more than just sit in front of a laptop, one single meal a day, and pretend that I have anything in common with names that never come across my mind. It is like I have to confine myself into a single .pdf, accosted for every part of myself that doesn’t fit into a picturesque dreamscape laid out in 12 pt sans-serif. It is like I am blamed for every part of myself that isn’t given up for someone or something else — and when I fit, intrepid and dauntless in the gaze of fools, I am an impostor. I am nothingness. I am a false-pretense preacher when I cannot save myself. I am a hypocrite. I am a fraud. I am nothing that I had ever wanted to be.

A lesson on revisionism isn’t the solution. My anger manifests itself in what I could have done better. I don’t regret showing up for a scholarship competition and miraculously making it to the top 6 in the entirety of a region — I regret the feigned apathy as I stared down a paper of problems that I didn’t know how to tackle. I regret sitting in that hall two years ago, giving up and calling forfeit to a future with the sound of lead and paper rampaging my head. For every moment that I had sunk and drowned with the weight of not knowing, I live in disbelief with the position and titles and names that I have strung. God, I am sorry for not believing. And god, am I sorry that I want to do everything that I love but have not spared enough time for so; forgive me for the mass of the world that I could have been a part of. Forgive the selfish disavowment.

Can you destroy a world when you live in a machine where everything is self-run? Every cog, every toil, it’s something forlorn and empty down the surface. Can I become the greatest act, the unretractable finale of a disappearance mesmerized down blank sheets of newspaper and sad signs? I’m combing my sadness into something like anger, and that anger into self-deprecating disappointment that shatters skulls and breaks down worlds. I am a self-proclaimed god of anger and irritability. I am the greatest liar I’ll ever have the privilege of being.

I am still staring down papers and skinning myself alive for things that no human is expected to know. I am still comparing my past ghosts and begging to twist their minds into believing in something earlier on. I am still writing a tab away from the thing I preach and forever away of sending off for four years on something on it. I live as an empty widow in the corner, an armada scorched of burnout dreams and inflated egos.

The last stretch of this megalomanic dream is to fall for the impossible.

Maybe, I’ll begin writing again — the only thing that I have ever been good at in terms of scores and numbers. I will waste a slot, throw it all away in fear of numbers and formulas; just like how I sat in my bedroom searching for what those meant put together, six or seven years ago. On a good day, my fingertips won’t dance on muck, flakes, and blood. I will be okay with where I stand. I will finish that book. I will feel a little bit more alive again. Under dim lights and fervent erasures and begs for forgiveness, everything will make sense in my head. I can ask for forgiveness for everyone that I had ever asked, that had to bend over backwards and stoop down for me. I will learn how to refurbish the machine; tame myself and become something boiled down to numbers in the best way possible.

Because perhaps I am not needed with the way of lines and counts, and not everyone who lives is meant to do something of meaning. What a gift it is, and what a glorious moment it would be when at the very least, we could understand and be content with ourselves — of every fleeting moment, every failed device. It’s a theory that I’ve made of myself. No idea what I wanted to be, except that what I was doing was useless. A self-engrossed, narcissistic girl who stared down at mirrors and wondered why I was. Maybe if I had some semblance of who I was, I wouldn’t have to reach so unbearably, murderously high. And for now — maybe, I like the thrill of being in control of so many things; a fleeting whirl of blankness because I swore that I would discover myself if I just kept getting out there. Few things that ground me are left in shattered pieces, the forever-repeated songs that revel in sadness and blind misery. What were once conversations were distant vows as I could no longer relate, as I grew angry at everyone who had ever held contempt for being something and making a meaning of themselves. The only things that mattered were making a difference and doing things and how could you all be spending your time on this and all the while, I was walking stomach-empty in the halls of places I should have known, lurking in the crevices of familiar names and wondering to what god do I have to compare myself to – to have some mark of where I am, where I was, where I am going.

Likely, I actually don’t know where all this is coming from other than an attempt to be better.

I am competing against myself, looking at others and wondering why I can’t catch up and be that good, fighting against my past mistakes, criticizing the click of my mind and the inability to grasp and speak and be.

I want to change the world; it’s a solemn vow that not many ever meet. The same thing as how we all swear to write a book someday. Or to find our passion and excel in it like it’s all there is. Or how we swear to people we will never meet again.

And what a godly liar I am, swearing that I would make it somewhere or be someone.

I still crumble at the foot of my desk, wondering what went so wrong with me as to make me incapable of comprehending a test item. Or wondering why I wasn’t born the prodigy that everyone ought to be (when I drown myself in comparisons and what-ifs). I seize moments where an ounce of belief comes, and I let it fall and pass in restless reassurance that I am not worthy of it.

To start doing things that mean something — not to the world, but to my own self — that is when I realize that there’s something out there. I will live for what’s in between the lines of the paper that summarizes my being. I will write books for the sake of writing them. I will find myself, unreliant on things outside of my will. I will breathe in the world that I had made for myself, and mold the world that I wish to make of others. Drill titans into the atmosphere and extinguish myself in the bedroom, where everything comes to rest — where I had thought about dying, and if I believed in god, whether I loved countless people, where I stood shivering in the night listening to the footsteps that did not belong under this roof. Everything succumbs and ends here; the overachiever that has it all is a lone vagabond in the confines of a room that never leaves, in a world that she knows she will never be a part of.

Perhaps here, in the stillness of forgotten evenings, I will unravel every formulaic throw at the person I am attempting to be. I will see the sun, and I will not beg it to die.

—is it not the death of a firefly

A story about a funeral in the dead of the summer.

With the relapse of summer on its idyllic deathbed, I once again draw nothing with the close. It is the same feeling that follows me with every untimely visit to living mortuaries in the outskirts of city, bordered by red district lights and the wick of laden candles. Where concrete becomes an overture to a short-lived piece that we drag on and on.

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compendium on prose

I thrive on writing. It’s freeing, and it feels as if that since the very beginning, my imagination has been running on the spill of punctuation and the doting tilde of analogies and similes. Coming more naturally to me than anything else and a forever love despite not being the most avid reader; I’ve taken it upon me to push forward with this mess. An angsty teenager with a pen and the Goodreads quote section for Chuck Palahniuk or the HelloPoetry collective of Allen Ginsberg is recipe for crisis.

So, I published a chapbook that contains a collection of my poetry and am in process of continuing a winter novel that has become so much more than I initially anticipated. Read more to find out about them, and stuff.

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on savior complexes and self-genesis

Like a crash course on reversal, this is my story. A year has changed me in so many ways, and the years ahead of me (whatever may be left) become figures to ponder. I wonder what has kept me going, but a better wonder is to seek how I have begun this trailblazing journey that seeks infinity.

Slowly, I get left behind and come in once again, on a rapid blizzard, a perverse blind game to becoming names on paper. This is a summer reflection on the person that I had become, and the person that I will be. Divulging everything out in little blog posts that no one reads but me in the dead of server malfunctions and better-forgotten nights.

And god, indeed — have I changed, have I become so many new people and learned that the world is kind of my plaything. And god, what a living ghost will I rise from as I transcend so ethereal that you won’t know how real everything I will become dares to be. So to the love I hold in no one and to the abyss I hold in myself, may it all be for better days (if they decide to come).

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this blur that had become our lives #1

Approaching the inevitable dull of the summer, I find that I am losing reason and meaning in everything. You can tell by how I have resorted to writing once more. This is the cascade of sorrow, of drunken days toasting forgotten sobriety, cloud nine high at the glimpse of yourself in the mirror, morning sunlight fights against the dusty carpet with the shadows, husks, and living dolls strolling around your home. This is the rekindling of my god complex; an earnest screech of life tracks against the drone of forestscapes, an avalanche of the world that surrounds me — a girl in the dead of the night playing games with her fatigue and mental instability looking back and recounting the months that had passed.

In other terms: this is the most that I had ever done. I live a haze, a beautiful, distorted, warped reach towards so many things that I label off as driven and passionate — learning how to speak (figuring out that I actually quite like it), still figuring out how to not be an awkward, flustered mess in public spaces and places. Going so many places at once, stepping into trouble and getting used to the sight of my Gmail more than Tumblr, Facebook, or KissAnime. Stupidity revels itself in the new craze of being stupid. I fall into the league of students, the problem minority that seeps out this generation — a craze of Model United Nations fanatics, delegation after delegation races and constant, endless reminders of why we are not enough. In review: these are the months that had passed. We near April, and it still doesn’t feel like living — that anything is real. I have given my life up long ago, or perhaps seconds ago; everything is timeless and feels one and the same. Losing everything like sand slipping down the crevices and chasms I have built in the locks and tracings of my palms — we bare the reality of the life that has been set forth for us. A haze. A shadow. A husk, like the ones I avoid and fear in my own household. Into everything and nothing at once, becoming everything, playing god, the lowest of all, the most nothing there is — welcome to this inexplicable blur that had become our lives.

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damsel of the craters

A living ghost is a moment’s grasp from the underworld. Sheathed in writhing emptiness; an abyss that everyone has made of her along with white lace, intertwined dandelions on the holes and darts (the only remnants of the love that she once bound). The dead cannot love — it is upon the cataract time-stop beat, the drawl of the flat-line and the rapid walk unto the “bad wing”. She is the reason why her dying breaths consisted of “keep loving” — why the paper airplanes she folded with bone poking out of skin were etched with “keep living,” why she was smiling, pursed lips and all, your softness against her own. An old discman next to water-filled speakers like a joke against the revolution of technology. During those final hours where she played music and spun brittle yarn emerging from her throes.

I danced with the daughter of the moon on the infinity evening of a Tuesday night. She counted down, like an old grandfather clock — the continuum ring until a new inception. We were ethereal wisps, dreaming across lush innocence tucked into beds or burning under the scorching sun, of mosquitoes picking at their toes, maggots crawling into their gashes. “One and the same,” her tender palm became coarse fire in instants, “we are all one and the same.” Pleasant aromas in one second, the overpowering smell of death, a stuck sore of bronze and old blood blooming into sweet citrus wavering — put in a straitjacket with all the lights on. “This is the world we live in.”

Fire, apocalyptic fire; the tombs of the dead from centuries ago emerging like new in the dead of the day. Anthems for oligarchies, solemn knights, a vision of Jesus Christ — we all bleed from the feet. Pointed downwards in excruciating pain she showed me the way of the Crucifixion and assured me that there would be no Resurrection. Took me to a jungle resurgence, Vietnam rain in the middle of June — dancing daughters among lost fathers, there was hope in the between of the canopies, a little life when the helicopter crashed down and burned in triangles. Took me to passes and caverns where guns were at play, manifesting into wine and beer in dark alleys and scepters to gavels to paint palettes to radiation — I saw the burst of Hiroshima, the death of the Black Plague, the nursery rhymes that we had birthed from oblivion and the bones that our mothers left. Saw the jungle battles, the gas tanks explosions the riptide gushing over — a nostalgic rehearsal of Pompeii where the sky blackened up, became a trillion pink hues; the collision of a car (I found my soul a million miles away) the birth of a song, the finding of fire. I was every person that was ever known, every feeling that had ever been. I witnessed the fall of pearls, discovery of green poison petals, mass extinctions on the verge of myriad prophets, little boys dropping down on suicide missions. Witnessed the Death March with the bodies piled up next to the river bank, orchestrated suicides — all revolutionary, on cyanide and grape juice, courtroom adjudicators on the beat for death and destruction of loving against the world. Girls in classrooms tossed with Bible bumps, maroon singsong paths against the blood of the lamb, walkers of the world dwelling under caverns and landforms, rock formations bleeding inwards and sipping in the dusk of the lamp; she made me go through moonshots, the falling of Canadian bridges and the freezing of hell all over again, seas that emulated the starlight above them and pits of hell that beckoned death and only it, the girl on the cinema reel from crate shipping containers and ghost stories, lot lizards scaled on the epiphany, pressed malice down in the burning of veer and consecration of wine. I saw the rise of Christianity, the loss of Greek mythology, blood and white overcoming the reason and meaning behind philosophy and psychology — gargantuan fears and the little boys living their entire lives in white rooms, genies at play in the medicine cabinet of your aunt. Stolen pill bottles left to bask in the dusk, sunlit stretches of leather on gold, she took me to the waters — the deepest parts undersea where I couldn’t tell if I was blinking or not (or breathing at all), the pinnacles of the earth where I did touch the clouds as they became nothing to me. Mushroom planets and fume-stopping rites; I orchestrated a funeral for my own children and of my fathers and mothers, I made it so beautiful that it would be a service they would never forget.

The daughter of the moon held my hand; she told me about how she loved the earth and everyone in it. She laughs at how when asked what her most favorite thing about the world is. “The same drone of everyone else that you had ever loved,” so be it a game. She asks me to list them down, and she would reply with a yes or a no.

“Roses?’
“Yes — but I do like hibiscus flowers more.”
“Coffee?”
“Yes, doused in sugar and milk.”
“Love?”
“The only certainty.”
“Stars?”
“Space? Of course. We are all born from it. We will all return to it, or it shall become us — one way or another.”

We were a drawl of corner sushi joints, old music records, psychological thrillers, vintage maps curled at the corners, grade school textbooks charred at the bottom of the abyss, waterfalls looming over skylines, ceilings of European cathedrals,  horizons kissing sense out of every believer, the colorful spectrum of jeepneys and old faces clinging onto sweaty, rusting metal. She fought wars face to face with the clouds, pillars seeking god and the sky. Dips of gold at the bottom of trenches, aquamarine bliss salvaged through dew, coronations in altars that burnt fire and ice, an eye of the storm twirling for a camisado against the night, chalkboards with perfect words, moons looming over highways, a first drink of Coke after the thirst, thrills and rushes seething and seeping into your bones; reverberations mimicking your birthright — something that reminds you that you are whole. Petrichor bliss after the gloom of the day, pedestals and mosaics riveted on dents and thrones, dainty kisses on the cheek as fingers trail down your spines, traced joints in the middle of the road on the midsummer dawn of the night, ash boxes on old family portraits leaked with light rays and blessed by the sun on Sunday afternoons, the final grasps of hand of old lovers before they part forevermore (unbeknownst to them, my dear).

Smoke rings around friends, lies and promises under hotel room lights, juicy bites of savory steak, calculated clockwork in the perfection of math and scents of thyme, salvation rushing to you in the form of vibrations and lights on the front row seats of the end of the world, peaking on infrastructure and industrialization — the fall of humanity at your very grasps as you let go and let loose with only the slightest hint of your ulterior motive shining through. Waking up early in the morning and realizing you still have a few more moments to fall asleep, listening to Light over and over and over until you get sick of it and can no longer hold onto the love that you once had for it, reminiscing on the piano and pouring your heart out on it for nobody but God and the lies built inside of yourself to hear, walking into classroom doors and finally realizing that this is your whole world — thirteen years to have explored, loved, all set in coded numbers and meticulous freshly graduated sleep-deprived narcotic-thriving believers.

The daughter of the moon tossed down a harpoon when I asked her if she was still distraught amidst all the beauty; she refused to answer straightly and simply told me that it was because humanity did not understand the beauty that it held within itself. We were back at the rooftop of a clock tower, the wind threatening to tear me down and my feet dangling with fear throbbing inside of me at a beat of a thousand hits a second. Her hands graced the sky and bounced upon meteors and comets like elementary, she swum upon the deepest and drank cups of iced chocolate on her tiptoes at the pinnacle of the epoch of a new world.

On a crackle of the dawn of night, she weaved away the constellations, spun black holes that swallowed everything within its path, of all things love and of all things invisible. Fingers clasped together and shaking like melodies, she asked me if I thought that this journey was going to last forever.

On a Tuesday night, against the race of time and matter; I waged a war with this daughter. A penumbra shone upon us, she, the exemplar of love and of living. I, the rage of reality and empathy. In wordless dissipation we became crystallized gradients hurtling towards each other and back in motions and springs. Rediscovering words that we had forgotten like meaning, understanding; the sour taste of “medication” clamped down the bottom of my throat, she the sight of something that I had found revolting since the seventh year that I was made to sin in a world already full of it.

With perfect poise and elegance, I had asked the daughter of the moon if she had been through any of these experiences in their fullness. Shapeshifting mistress of the night that relies on shrouds and scars to become a lover when we had been sinking in the mistakes of the world since the very beginning. She does not respond.

I bow against her, the memories of everything terrible coursing through me; gastronomic surges, electricity dancing through my hair, static booming for the reasons of life and loss.

Daughter of the moon, you do not know why we are millions.

A millennium of living and only a handful have recognized that we must return to the stardust, hearts of which we were borne. Crystallized sorrows in soul bottle dew and meaningless words for the drug-induced to seek and love.

Daughter of the moon, you do not see the death in which beauty has arisen from.

Loss, envy, greed. Temperamental hues fight back against a world that it had deceived. Caustic fume, I too, am a daughter of the moon. Imminent black, void of which I know that life is no longer an oasis that it once pictured itself out to be. Gangrel colonel of the living, a wicker in the midst of reason. She has become nothing, as the world was a provision of its entirety.

I am voices talking to no one, the fleeting drum of seas, tidal waves on the coattails of burning pyres — daughter of the moon, you fail to see the inherent self-destruction on the other side of the beauty. Sorrow and pain has moved the world and space itself in so many ways that you may never quite know, a selfish waltz against turmoil that we thrive on for curated passions and purity. We seek to beseech the ones who have fallen in love with all but garlands of angst, pain in passion, sorrow clouded, empathetic glances.

She asks me what choice I make. The same question that she had asked billions before her; I take the lamplight in my palms and curdle it into ember hallucination. For the first time, I am the opposite: the one who had fed the beast, who dared to live past the underworld, the crushing grind of teeth and malice. I, wrist of blood and scar and false accusations — had pushed through with it. In chorus with the millions of others we had preached, “I want to die.”

Daughter of the moon, paragon poised illuminated by a penumbra evening dawn, heed my word.

The world is a damned place for the beautiful and worse for the wicked. No longer do I live on streets where I seek to sell my body for empathy and cover my mouth in humility — bathside pool and the box cutter friend, lipstick stains on strangers to ignite the red of bronze bubbles further. Pinnacle of life, it is no longer worth living — a shackled girl on the tidal collapse of tomorrow. A false lesson made to teach only to kill; the teachers that had raised me taught me how to tie the noose, how to cut vertically rather than horizontally, to drown in peace. It will only hurt if you fight back, it will only hurt if you resist.

Wonder, I am the shadow against the moon — a figure made a mockery of in the child’s play visions of the Tuesday eventide. It is only when we realize, that as a world, dying is beautiful and infinite, that it is not a joke but a testament — matrimony for peace and silence, that we will be forgotten and never remembered and this is our mission — I breathe.

I learned my lesson. I devastated the family. I kissed the daughter of the moon goodbye — for she is so innocent, of rose without thorn; blush-stained lips.

She still believes in life when I never had mine.