Archives for the month of: October, 2012

My mind and heart have been occupied.

First, by this intense awareness that all these different environments I have been in in the past 3 months, are all existing simultaneously. I am not tripping! Neither am I stoned out of my mind! But, more so that the past few months, I have lived so intimately and drawn into the various environments I have visited. From being absorbed into my parents’ lives and losing a sense and pulse of my own, to being thown off balance by the political exposure during my trip to P, and now, being back, and just beginning to adjust to the momentum and pulse of my own life. A life I very deliberately have chosen away from my parents, and the place I grew up. So I catch myself in moments, living in 3, 4 different places at any one time. Maybe walking with my father toward my mother’s workplace, listening to him go on about the top 500 places that National Geographic has recommended to visit in the world; Maybe walking out of the Orange Place Hotel on Kamias St catching a jeepney in that hell-raising traffic to meet my friend An., or cramming into a tricycle swerving along the narrow spaces between cars; or, as I am now, presently, bodily, walking to school ready to take an exam, trying to cram what I can in these precious last minutes.

And I exist, not bodily, but emotionally, through this distance, across these time zones. And I am constantly reminded of the choice I have made to bodily exist in only one of these places. And expanding my heart to include these places, maybe that makes this choice easier to live with. That choosing, does not mean a complete exclusion, but rather a focus. The other areas go out of focus, are slightly blurry, but they are there. They are still tangible and they are still part of this daily panorama of my life.

Two, is how the story of Rodriguez, the forgotten Latino day laborer, philosopher, musician, captured in the documentary “Searching for Sugarman,” has touched me, made me cry and washed out the despair that had been creeping in.

I love the song, Searching for Sugarman. It calms me. I love the story of this working class musican philosopher who did his art as an artist would, regardless of whether the world appreciated or recognized him, and who had dignity, had pride, had self respect. I imagine he had self doubt and blame and a sense of being cheated for his unrecognized fame, unacknowledged talent. But this dude he kept on being excellent in the midst of medriocrity, kept on trying, putting effort. And luckily for him, he is now recognized. But so many others remain in the shadows. I love this story. It makes me cry. I wanna be excellent like him, I dont wanna be dragged into the mediocrity that surrounds our lives. I want to live, live, live and fight to do so.

Third, is the yoga practice and the internship I have been having at the hospital. These 2 experiences in this past month have been inextricably tied to the little bulb in my head that lit up when I watched Rodriguez’s film. Yoga has helped me like my body more. What I really appreciate about the yoga sessions is how the teachers affirm and appreciate the effort that we put into trying to do the poses. They teach us to respect and listen to our own bodies, to know our own limitations. They see that we are there to work hard to change our bodies by stretching it, loving it, expanding it. And they appreciate our effort. They remind US to appreciate our own efforts. Doing this yoga thing has been so powerful for me. For once I don’t see loving or caring for my body as a masochistic torture — ie the GYM and really boring, unfun, monotonous, “super disciplinary” kind of action. It is actually about enjoying the workout. I am looking forward to how it will change me.

Along those lines, I genuinely appreciated my clinical instructor as well as the nurses who had been so generous with their knowledge. Our instructor pushed us really hard. He was respectful and professional and I felt that he really supported us in our learning. He does put out this vibe of someone who does not give up easily, who appreciates and values the effort. The nurses in the unit I interned at similarly have been kind and patient, very intentionally trying to teach us and prepare us for our work. I can’t convey how thankful I am for this and how much I do not take this for granted at all. I am going to miss this rotation a lot. I hope my next rotation will be equally as fulfilling.

For now, I am actually enjoying my life. I am motivated and inspired. Living in this moment, right now, right here.

I have returned to S town, where I have spent the last five years. Home is where the heart lies. My heart lies in a few places. I know no singular home, and I am troubled by these shifts.

Before I touched this keyboard, I had so much to say. But now fingers to pad, I suddenly have nothing that I feel is worthwhile to write. But that too, is my way of escaping. Knowing that writing is so important in helping me process what I am going through, and yet not wanting to follow through, to invest emotionally in this process, even as the words form in my mind. This is how I give up on myself.

I have to remind myself that I have many beautiful things around me. I have a beautiful person as my partner who loves me very much. I have a beautiful even if flawed community of people who, if I communicated with about what I am experiencing, would support me to the best of their abilities. I have beauty around me. I am deserving of good will and kindness.

I have so many scattered thoughts. Thoughts that if unsettled, and unresolved, drive me further into debilitation, into a lack of motivation. This is something I struggle with. This is something that has come up in my life every now and then. It is something I have learned coping mechanisms for, but which I felt I lost in my time away from a reality that is mine.

I have lived my parents lives for the past 2 months. Their schedules, their ups and downs, their geographies, their spaces. I have willingly done that to fulfill my sense of responsibility to them, to be a child that respects the elders, that takes care of them, even as it is still lacking for so many reasons. In this time, I have lacked community, a sense of purpose that is meaningful to me, that is symbiotic, that is also nourishing and rewarding. I have played a role that I believe needs to be fulfilled and I have drawn many positive feelings from that. But somehow, it has made me lost as I return to the other aspects of my life.

I have compartmentalized my life for so long that I can’t make sense of them when they come together.

So “I have lost my coping mechanisms” becomes a way to describe this sense of loss I feel.

Because how I cope here, in S town, is not how I can cope there, in my parents’ home.

I have deliberately shunned myself from certain circles in S town that remind me of home — the competitiveness, the cut throat atmosphere, the go-getter for money and opportunity, the Type A personality. And now, I am reminded of them and judging myself by those standards.

I want to excel. I knew what I wanted to excel in. Now I dont know how to excel in what I want to excel in, and neither am I convinced that is what I wanna excel in anymore. And I unwind. It spirals out of control.

But I dont want it to spiral. I sometimes draw extreme conclusions and unnecessarily plunge myself into cycles of doubt, toward myself, as well as others.

I dont want to go there this time. I desire a different coping mechanism.

*

I am fulfilling a duty to my parents. I am not sure I have come to terms with some of our past. Fulfilling the duty in a way that makes me not feel regret down the road, right now, is more important that revisiting some angry memories.  And people change.

Which home am I coming home to, in myself? I am a child of migrant workers, I am an immigrant, I have no home that geography can delineate.

Which is why it made me upset in a way I could not verbalize, when in this past week, my teachers singled me out each time to ask if I was a citizen. While they engaged in other small talk with my classmates, all they focussed on with me was this innocent piece of information: are you naturalized?

How would they understand why this added to my sense of loss, my sense of lacking home?

How could I be angry, again? And waste those emotions?