I am the beginning and the end.
I was born in darkness and through the endless void.
In a vast fraction of a second, I live. I am that second that asks you, “How did you live?”, and a lapse of moment assuring you, “You survived, and you did well.” I am a second away from saying farewells and, at the same time, ‘hello’ to your favorite ghosts that you stopped chasing because you realized that they are your friends after all.
I saw stars collapse and galaxies give birth to constellations, giving hope to the pleas of the restless. I call out to both loneliness and despair, and without bounds, I accept and embrace them all to sooth their souls. I live by collecting wishes and bedtime prayers while letting the stars dance around me and shine in their brightest forms.
I am the uncertainty of tomorrow, and the relief of today.
Tonight the highway sings to me like an ancient lullaby that went on and on through time. The world is awake and vulnerable in a universe that is somnolent, and I grew to love it in its chaotic form.
This is where I end and begin.
It was the year of fortitude. Of trudging forward during the time of halts and dead ends. It was the year of growing pains and incredulity, and then there was the pandemic. It was being confident until you found out you were wrong. It was the year of possibilities and hoping that things could be better but didn’t, and somehow, you were okay with that. It was the year you realized how short life is, and that time doesn’t stop for anyone — it’s your life that can, in any moment or circumstance. It was baking brownies for breakfast. It was gratitude instead of apologies. It was hugging your sister and brother and the prayers for safety each time you look at them. It was looking at people during the last minutes of their life, and the silent goodbyes you whispered as you hold their hands as they let go. It was reading each book until its last page, regardless of how you feel about it.
It was the year of thriving. The year you felt unrecognizable with what you’ve become after the continuous change, and you’ve never felt more ecstatic for life. It was learning that better things come your way if you know how to be patient. It was laughing at 1AM in your room and dreaming of places you’ve never been to. It was watching every sunrise at the rooftop and it was the year you found out that your scars never existed at all. That emotional bond is deeper than short talks. That slow progress is still progress. It was the year when love came knocking at your door, and you welcomed it with faith and vulnerability. And in spite of all the twists and turns, you started to trust your guardian angels again after you stopped believing in them when you grew older. It was being contented with what you have, but also learning that it was okay to aim for better things. For a better future. For better friendship. For a better relationship.
And that year you watched all your dreams that you yearned for, all those wishes you had over your birthday cake, and all those secret hopes that your heart desired, came to life one by one, like a gift given by above. Or your guardian angel.
These days, I’ve been contemplating the possibility of writing without intent. I still don’t know if I will ever be comfortable not knowing the answers I’ve been looking for, but by some means, my mind is as blank as a piece of paper and too quiet to acknowledge its existence. Lately, I have been learning how to live in my own skin and marvel at my life, as if it were a novel with an epic story that is yet to be told, with no other characters except my own. It’s just one of those moments when you’re riding on a rollercoaster and yet it feels slower than ants crawling on a summer day. I need to know if it’s possible to yearn for a perfect day and live in it at the same time. I need to know if love can truly exist if timing and distance finally agree to coincide. I do not know how to express the weight of the heart when a part of it is missing, but all I know is that it aches for something.
Not everyone has the same lifespan as you do.
While most people waste their existence on bad choices, others will give everything to have a few more minutes of time. Others simply cut them off like a ribbon with no meaning at all. Being alive will forever be a mystery, and you will never get used to it. Life will throw surprises your way, one after another, until you decide what the meaning of it all is and how you’re going to react to each of them. You will never know when the flame of the candle will go off, and consider yourself lucky if you do.
What kind of life are you going to lead then?
In another storybook, Snow White did not eat the poisoned apple. Instead, she took the seeds and planted them. The next harvest season came and she took all the apples from the tree, made a business out of it, fed some to the dwarves who made her a house slave, and lived happily ever after.
When I was younger, I was afraid of forgetting. And so, at the age of nine, I started to write almost every single detail of my days in a notebook, treating every single stroke of my pen as a piece of myself to be kept safe until it was time to revisit the memory lane. From childhood adventures to the inner turmoils and frustrations of an innocent child, I recorded my life as if my whole being were extended to it.
But as I grew older and started to learn how to be more or less wiser, I became more focused on the future and more resentful of the past. One sunny day of my young adult year, I threw away twenty-three journal notebooks on the fire, along with the collection of what had gone by. It was then that I decided to live more in the present and reach for the future, for I learned that there is more to life than materializing yesterdays and picking up the crumbled remains of them.
Years later, in the midst of adulthood and catching opportunities, I put down a blank page before me for some reason, and something inside me suddenly stirred. A familiarity. I stared at the paper as if I saw a ghost of my former self, whom I burned to ashes that day. The missing piece of me that was forgotten, just like those journal notes.
I want to write again and fill the page with words that will define me and this life. I want to not just tell stories about myself; I want to write down my messy thoughts, my far from perfect sentiments about the world. I want to write about the double-edged sword of fiction and metaphors. I want to write about my own shadow.
I want to write about YOU.
I have a profound fondness for opening a new planner. It is full of unwritten dreams and questions I have yet to answer. I flip through its brand new pages, and there are nothing but spaces waiting to be filled with what my year will probably be about. Like a captain who is ready to set sail to a new world, it feels amazing how good it feels to navigate my future even if it’s only for a year. Twelve months of opportunities. Weeks of holding on and letting go. Days that will creep under your skin without you knowing, changing you into something new.
Happy New Year.
It was the year of choosing yourself. It was picking up the pieces of your soul one by one and making something new out of them instead of putting them back together. It was waking up every morning and looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, “You’re okay”. It was last bus ride tickets and walking in the rain for fun, and it was going out with friends you haven’t seen for eons.
It was twelve months of peeling off bandages from wounds you didn’t know were there. It was Singapore. It was like inhaling fresh air after being indoors for so long. It was sleeping it off at twenty-three and waking up at twenty-four, and it was all the questions in between. Questions like, “What now?” and “What the hell were you thinking?” It was rewatching your old favorite TV shows until dawn, like you hadn’t seen them before. And it was going out to the balcony at 2 a.m. because the world was quiet and you got devoted to looking at the stars, and for some reason, you felt like you belonged.
It was the year of irony. Of breaking people’s hearts so you could protect yours. Of meeting strangers and then never showing up again. But it was also the year of showing up to the rest of the world again. It was taking things as they are rather than second guessing. It was the year of spontaneous, solo roadtrips and different cities and looking for answers to what you really want to do in life. It was wearing eye glasses after swearing you’ll never use one again. It was dreaming of Louisiana and jazz music, because you learned that looking at the world rosy-eyed can be addicting.
It was the year of safety. It was weekend after weekends of getting lost to art and self-improvement and books and coffee shops you’ve never been to. It was trusting no one but your own guts. It was accepting that you don’t have to fit yourself in to a huge despicable space in a puzzle when you could just be a single piece that is already whole in all of its being — and it was perfect.
It was twelve months of falling from grace, and catching yourself before you hit rock bottom.
Because all you wanted was to learn how to fly higher than you ever could.
Do you think that someone, somewhere in this world, is looking at the stars like you do? Questions the wonders of life like you do? Wishing for the same things as you do? Looking forward to the day he’d meet you?