Saturday, January 26, 2002

On Writing

Taking a break from my usual stories about myself, let me narrate about something that exists outside of time. It has always been with me in the past, resides with me in the present, and will continue to lurk in the future. What I am talking about is my need to write. It's not something I want to do more than it is something I need to do. Or better yet, it's something I do.

I may write for several reasons. One is that I'm required to do so for my education or occupation. I doubt if there's a college student who graduated without writing some sort of term paper or thesis. Another reason is that it's my way of coping up with life. Writing about myself and my experiences can be therapeutic. Perhaps that's the only thing that's keeping me sane.

Those are just superficial reasons though. The real reason I write is for no other reason than to write. Like the Nike ad says, I just do it. Out of the blue, I feel a need to write and once I turn on the computer, my hand takes on a life of its own and it begins to type. Words appear in my mind which hold little meaning until they flash on screen. I don't stop to think what I'm writing. Even I don't know what will happen next until it's done.

Sometimes, what I write doesn't get printed. It swims in my mind, taking on many forms. I write stuff in my imagination and sometimes postpone putting it on paper so much so that by the time I finally find the time to actually write it, it's found a new home somewhere already. Laziness has always been my primary foe. Perhaps it's a part of me as well.

There are times though when I just find the time to write no matter how lazy I am. These usually happen when I'm half-awake. For some strange reason, I find the strength to write when I should be sleeping. Mysteriously enough, my brain functions at peak capacity that my words make sense and my hand continues to type. Just like right now.

When I'm not as motivated, reading something close to home inspires me to write. For example, I was reading "Articles of Faith" the other week which gave advice on how to write. The examples were clear, concise, and something I imagine myself doing. It was so inspiring that I began writing when I got home. That's what gave me the determination to constantly write in my online journal. So far, I've managed to constantly update it.

Another thing that makes me want to write is by looking at it. The more beautiful it is, the more motivation I have for writing. Perhaps back in the days before there were computers, people were stuck with the monotony of their typewriters. The font remained the same and the format was always constant. Not so with the present day however. As new technologies develop, different looks and appearances become available. I'm tired of Times New Roman. How about Verdana? Or even Arial? When I write, I just don't think of the content. I also visualize how it'll look. Nothing could make me write more than the promise if a good layout.

Of course a person can't write if he doesn't have experiences. I like to share the knowledge that I have. Whether it's as trivial as a television show I just watched or a reflection on the ironies of the world, I like to tell it to people. Of course most of the time, there's no one to listen. That's why it's important to get my ideas on paper. What I write may not be read now or perhaps not even in the next ten years but as long as it's printed, there's a chance that someone else will eventually read it. Who knows who the next Anne Frank may be?

More often than not, I just write to get in touch with people. Writing letters and emails is something I'm fond of. Maybe that's the result of having few friends during my childhood. Or the fact that I'm always lonely. The beauty of writing a letter is that you can take back what you said and put in all the ideas you want to convey. Sometimes, speaking them can be so insubstantial. Writing tells it in a way no other medium can. And there's no better way for a message to remain permanent. Spoken words are eventually forgotten. Written messages are reread.

Whenever I write, I give up a part of myself. A piece of me is with the work I've written. Just as you give pieces of yourself to the people you love and trust, the same goes with what I write. It contains a part of me, no matter how distorted it may be. For example, you might have written a poem when you were a child. That poem represents a part of yourself when you were a kid. Perhaps it shows how simple a child you were, or how naïve your outlook was. Either way, it was a part of who you were... or are, depending on the circumstances.

I always wanted to draw. Writing is no substitute. But it might be just as meaningful. When I think about it, writing is a form of communication. The early humans communicated not with alphabet characters and glyphs but instead with drawings: pictograms and other visual representations that expressed what they wanted to say and feel. Is my need any different? A picture is worth a thousand words. Can a few words not paint a picture as well?

Writing is not something I plan to do. It just happens. Of course there are times when I'm required to write but even then, I write about things that come from within me. Even when it comes to fiction, what I write comes from my imagination. What I know and what I don't know is expressed in my writing. If there's anything that can best express a person, it's what he or she writes.

If there's anything that is synonymous with breathing, it's writing. Each is essential to one's life and it's not necessarily something that's done consciously. I wouldn't be surprised if I wrote something while I'm blindfolded.

Monday, January 21, 2002

Moving On

I had always been haunted by my experience during grade school and the first year of high school. They all left permanent scars, none of which have been easy to bear. Just when I thought I had faced the worst, the days following my high school graduation showed me that I was wrong. I still had much to learn and change was an inevitable thing for me.

Depressed and frustrated, these emotions were augmented by the fact that it was my summer break and there was nothing else for me to do but to dwell on it. If there's any advice I can give to a heartbroken person, it's to keep busy. The more free time you have, the more you dwell on the tragic events of your life.

For nearly two weeks, I barely got any rest since I was plagued by dreams of Nissie. My dreams were actually pleasant. It's the fact that you know it's just a dream and that it isn't real that frustrated me. I'd become sleepy only to wake up an hour later, my heart beating rapidly at the sight of my crush. This would always happen whenever I closed my eyes so it was a miracle I managed to get any rest at all. That was just the first symptom.

As I wrote before, Nissie and I shared a lot of things in common. We watched the same anime shows, read the same books, and even went to the same places. Thus, any activity I did only made me recall what I had lost (I never "gained" her to begin with). Whenever I watched a show, I'd think of how Nissie would have laughed at that instance or smiled in that situation. Books where no help either. I wanted to loan her the books I was reading but I knew she wouldn't accept. Worse, I knew she'd enjoy the books. When a new book would come out, I badly wanted to tell her about it but I knew she wouldn't entertain me. It perturbed me that I had something to share but I couldn't do so.

Several days had passed and I had lost all my will to live. What reason did I have for existing if I can't be with the one I love? I may have all the material goods I want but it cannot bring me joy. Only other people can make me happy. Only Nissie could have made me happy?

I probably would have committed suicide then if it weren't for the fact that I had underwent a suicide phase when I was nine or ten. I had resolved since then not to commit suicide since it would have been meaningless; I'd accomplish nothing when I could do more by being alive. Another reason I didn't hang myself is the fact that my body had a strong will to live. It wouldn't give up on me and I didn't have the will to slit my wrist. Of course that didn't mean I gave up the idea entirely. Given the chance, I'd sacrifice my life if it could save another. Actually, one of my wishes now is that I could give up my life so that a friend could live.

By the time it was April, I had firmly decided to get over Nissie. The hardest thing for me to do wasn't to get over Nissie but to decide to do it. I was usually trapped with indecision, not knowing if I should give up or if I should still strive to gain her affection. After all, as long as there's a chance, there's still hope. And some people should know that hope isn't always a good thing.

My plan involved a threefold tactic. The first was to be preoccupied. The more free time I had, the more I'd dwell on it. Keeping busy was healthy for me. Besides, I'm not the type that liked to be idle. My solution to that problem was to look for a job. Guess where I got hired?

After getting employed at Comic Alley, I implemented the second stage of my plan. I needed a new hobby. What made it difficult for me is the fact that I always remember Nissie whenever I surf the net, watch TV, or read my books. I needed to do something I've never done before, something that I can't associate with Nissie.

I'm a reader at heart. When I finally got fed up reading fantasy (and my Dragonlance books), I started to look for something different. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle found me as I saw the compiled editions of all his Sherlock Holmes novels. For a time, that was all that I was reading. Everything else seemed to drift away like my anime soundtrack collection, the anime fanzine, and even the chatroom. I was reinventing myself.

The third phase involved meeting new people and making new friends. Don't worry, I'm not the type of person that rebounds on another person. I just needed to broaden my association with people and perhaps gain back a piece of my former self. It didn't work out quite well at first. For one thing, we once had a customer who looked a lot like Nissie. I couldn't contain myself and had to leave the shop even when the customer was still there.

During the entire month of April, I was busy recovering and getting over Nissie. I tried new hobbies, met new people, and preoccupied myself with the things at hand. It wasn't easy at first. I'd remember Nissie often (I was working at an anime shop after all) and I'd go into bouts of depression. As time passed on though, I'd only remember Nissie once or twice a day.

The pivotal day for me was in May. I had scheduled a meeting with Joanne, a person I used to chat. It was a Saturday and she was dropping by Greenhills with her parents and a friend to go shopping. I had known her since second year but I had never seen her. When she finally dropped by Comic Alley, I was shocked. She was beautiful. A friend I had talked to for the past three years was standing right before me and she was extremely pretty. We talked for awhile and then I had to say goodbye to her since I couldn't leave the store. It's a good thing I didn't.

As if determined by fate, an old acquaintance dropped by. His name was John and he brought with him his girlfriend and a friend. The girl's name was Therese and her friend's name was Rose. They were both pretty in their own ways. I laughed at the circumstances because Joanne was batchmates with these two girls. I surprised them by saying that their batchmate Joanne dropped by earlier. They were shocked at how I knew. I simply said that I was a stalker. =)

What made that day special was the fact that it wasn't until the end of the day did I realize I didn't remember Nissie. I was so happy. I had finally gotten over my crush. Of course I'd later miss the fact that I wasn't in love anymore. When my life returned to normal, things appeared "plain". I wasn't as motivated like I was when I had fallen for Nissie. My actions lacked the enthusiasm they previously had. I then learned the value of learning to love.

"It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." I know the value of that statement. In fact, I don't regret falling head over heels for Nissie. I had everything to gain in doing so. Look at the new things I learned about myself. Count how many friends I had made in the process. Most important of all, it paved the way for new possibilities. I was forever changed and perhaps that change was for the better.