It’s been months since my last entry here. For a professional writer and MA Creative Writing student it reads as a total shame. Throughout the months I’ve avoided writing a decent entry in here, I’ve perused personal blogs of friends and friends of friends over the usual food, travel, makeup, and fashion blogs regular netizens prefer as part of their daily reading. Call it chismosa if you want, but reading these entries elicited a mix of envy and hope. I was jealous of being unable to be so honest about myself and my situation. But there was hope for those who are brave enough to put themselves out there.
2013 was a difficult year. In a nutshell, I began the year unemployed with no real job prospects. My parents supported me studying full time but hey an allowance can only get you so far. I did a few writing gigs on the side but they weren’t really enough to sustain the lifestyle I previously enjoyed and pay for bills. I did not have money to go out and market myself at PR events as a freelance writer. And where would I start? I wasn’t born with connections, a growing bank account, etc. etc. aka a silver spoon that the more well-versed elite are already milking to their advantage.
I also began the year with a rejection. Well not outright rejection, but I put myself at risk for something that was close to my heart. A job to be blunt about it. It would’ve worked out great with the whole studying setup, but it clearly wasn’t my time. Yes, we tell ourselves it’s not meant for us AFTER the rejection as if it were OUR choice. But at the same time, these people have their reasons for not having us. And looking back, I realized the reason for me not being there then: I was a mess. No, I didn’t show up at the interview a mess. Haha. But I was still reeling from the job I resigned from and was trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. That probably reflected in my answers and my aura. I clung to that application like it would be the answer to my unemployment and what I missed with my last job. But that shouldn’t have been my reason for wanting it that much.
You see that last job I left in 2012 wasn’t just any job. It earned me a title I dreamed of having at 21. Editor. Writer. Of two international titles! But I left it because not all sparkly, dignified, bongga looking glossy mags are as pretty and perfect as the office they are running from. There was immature high school politics. Under the table cash deals. Gossiping that removed morale. Rumors. Lies told and defended as truths. I knew I would stop growing as each title I worked under began to die.
Now I was left penniless, jobless, title-less. Every conversation that begins with “what do you do?” had me shrinking inside and fumbling for an answer. “I’m in graduate school.” And in the back of their heads: how do you live?
I was still writing thanks to the graduate school program I entered. But my heart began to miss writing for media. Only then did I learn the distinction of writing for yourself and writing for others. They both have their particular joys. But neither can replace the other.
Thankfully 2013 was also the year of travel. I managed to visit three places in a year. Hong Kong was where I blew all my savings and I have no regrets. I attempted to rough it out in Anawangin, Zambales. I rode a bus to Baguio with strangers who became good friends a week after leaving Manila. Not one moment in these places was wasted experiencing the strange new places with familiar faces.
It was also my second year in the graduate program. This meant doing longer and more (trying hard to be literary) writing. I discovered the pains and joys of finding a story amid remembered fragments. I wrote a story that lied its way to a truth. I never thought I’d enjoy the “business” of lying, but there I was pushing to find an ending to imagined beings, situations, and settings. Hopefully I can return to that story and find ways to tell it better again.
Then there was my story. In a more personal Facebook note limited to a few individuals, I was raw, honest, and shameless about what made last year so hard to write about. It was the year of letting go. I let go of a five-year-old love.
I’ll leave it at that. It hasn’t even been a year and I’m not ready for it to be your story as I write this. Not yet. Not until I figure it out how it’s my own.
I found my way through 2013 despite all the loss. I found new challenges to accept, old friends resurfaced, new friends didn’t mind my neediness, new faces came and went to add a few more fun scenes to look back on.
So here I am trying to make sense of 2013 just three weeks into 2014. Last week, I had my cards read by an awesome new friend I made in 2013. We grew close because I asked him about my (now ghost of a) love life. But there was a decision I had to make and I needed the cards to confirm or deny what my decisions ae gearing towards. “Usually the cards just tell us what we already know,” he reminded me. 2014 is the second year of my quarter life crisis, but I welcomed it with an excitement for its palimpsest. I erased fragments of my past: that job, that guy, a few regrets. I knew marks of the past would still find their way in whatever is written now and in the future. But it’s a start. A fresh start that doesn’t mind the lack of familiarity and infinite possibilities.