Speak gently I pray
Let not your brows tie up in annoyance
Let not your voice bark in exasperation
Let not your face be red in anger
But speak of love
gentle and soft
Speak with tender eyes
and understanding voice
With a patient smile
and kindest words
Speak of truth, of hope, of God
Speak gently my dear,
Speak to me with your heart.
How is it that I’ve only known you now? What has been before you came, I cannot imagine or remember any longer. Everything came to be when you came and nothing existed when you did not. What was I then? I do not know. It is now that I know you that I realize I hadn’t known anything at all. And now that I know you, I want to know you even more, to know you as you know me, that I may love you as you love me, and that I may love everything and everyone that you love. Knowledge, and love, and beauty, and joy— how wonderful all these are. How could I ever looked at the sky and witness its beauty and not think of you at all? How could anyone live on this earth and wake up each day to its loveliness and think you do not exist? When all beauty is because of you, coming from you. All love, all goodness, all creation is yours. All that I am, everything that I am. I do not want to be myself anymore. I want to be yours alone. To belong to you, every moment in your presence, every thought only for you. To dwell in your house all the days of my life. This what I seek. This is my desire.
While you were lonely, what were you doing?
I was watching a Korean drama and this question popped out on the subtitles. I can’t remember what series it was from or in what context it was used. But I remember that line clearly because my answer was watching kdramas all day and all night. I swear, I never did plan (and I plan everything) on getting addicted to korean dramas but I tried watching one and then one thing led to another and the dominoes of my highly architectured sembreak plans went tumbling down one after the other.
Originally, I wanted to fill my almost month-long vacation with reading books, writing short stories, poems, painting, sketching, playing tennis, cleaning and organizing our house, taebo, cooking, and visiting Danao. But I never got to fulfill such promising plans because my sembreak syndrome kicked in, augmented by the convenience of kdramas.
See, I have troubles when I get time on my hands. Lots of time. During the lull of comfortable, carefree days, my fears resurface and I get paralyzed. I don’t know why it is exactly, but I was afraid to write, read books, open tumblr, chat on facebook, open my e-mail, go out. I was afraid of people and the world. The most convenient escape I found was watching kdramas. It kept my mind away from the things that I was afraid of. It was entertaining and satisfying. Most importantly, I didn’t have to think or deal with people. I just had to sit and glue my eyes on the computer screen. And that’s exactly what I did all sembreak-long.
When sembreak was almost over, I thought back, finally facing the fears that I pushed back to my subconscious. What exactly was causing my anxiety? First, I so wanted to have a part-time job but I’ve been rejected a couple of times and I’m guilty and afraid that I’ll just be an inutile, lazy daughter.
Second, I deliberately arranged my 2nd semester schedule so that I would only have afternoon classes, just 3 hours a day, 5 days a week but the downside is that my close friends chose a different schedule and my schedule doesn’t give me much chance to socialize with people, which means I’m cutting myself off from society and friends again. And I actually made this choice knowing of such consequence.
Third, I won’t be able to eat lunch with Fr. Justine and Br. John Van and Pia for the whole of next semester because of my schedule. And I don’t like this a lot because I love eating and talking with them. It gives a great feeling. It makes me happy. And taking away that Friday habit is like taking away the beautiful sunset at the end of the day.
Fourth, is that I realized I’m not really much of a writer. I have been seriously doubting myself. I’ve always thought that I could be a writer someday. A person who earns and enjoys through her love of writing. But the reality of its responsibilities, obstacles, and the possibility of failure have been weighing me down. That is why I haven’t written a single thing in the past month.
I’ve been constantly praying to God that I hope he’ll give me strength and make me brave, though all the while I’m still harboring a grain of doubt if I could ever be one. Still, I keep praying and praying hoping that through prayer I might also believe myself more.
Then a while ago, in our Dev Comm class I was taken aback with what our professor said. We had to introduce ourselves and he asked each one of us some questions about why we took up Mass Comm. And my answer was: I want to be a writer. I was surprised hearing those words from myself. But even more when our professor remarked that I look like someone who is taking Pol Sci because I looked nerdy, and politically inclined. And that I looked ‘strong’, like Gabriela Silang.
I’ve never ever got this kind of impression. Well, the nerdy part is stereotypical to those who wear glasses. I was even told I looked ‘scholarly’, a worse version of nerdy if you ask me. It makes me think of Plato or Socrates. But the second part of his statement struck me. Did I look snobby that he’d think so? But then I thought of what he said, ‘strong like Gabriela Silang’. I suddenly smiled, thinking, I’m strong! He said I’m strong! Wow. I guess I am strong. No, I AM strong. I AM brave. I am. There’s no reason to be anxious or fearful. The things I’ve been so afraid of seem to be so trivial right now, thinking of the affirmation that I am indeed a strong person!
And it is funny and curious that such things come from unexpected people or that strange circumstances made me realize the thing that I should’ve always known about myself. And I guess that is why I am writing this right now. I am not afraid anymore. I am strong.
I was obsessed with Math, Addition in particular, for a substantial period in my childhood. I added words in my head. The letters were numbers. The words in a book, someone’s reply to my question, the endless drone of the teacher during class discussion. Every word that were within hearing range, I had to keep track, correct spelling, spacing, and punctuation included, then I added all of them. They all rolled up into a sum and no matter how big it got, it always had to be either 50 or 100 because these are the stable numbers for me. The addition won’t end until they reached either of these sums. Many times I would be sitting silently in a corner, oblivious to the world except to the words that reach my ear, imprisoned by the numbers in my head.
For a time, I entertained the thought that maybe I was crazy, that I had a mental illness. Sometimes, I looked at people around me and wondered, with a bit of hope, if somehow they happened to be suffering the same addiction as me. But no, my sister was perfectly engrossed with the anime she’s watching. My bestfriend is always blabbing she wouldn’t have managed great sums in her head at the same time. My mother was too busy. Her eyes and hands were always occupied with matters not even slightly related to math. Students laughing at the waiting shed, children running around the playground, strangers walking past in a blur— would they happen to be counting letters in their mind?
I look around but I see only myself staring into space, deaf with the world’s endless chatter, and blinded by the long trail of addends, hopelessly chasing for the end of a century, or half of it at least.
Must you be just a weekly habit? Nothing more often than a Friday lunch date? I know Fridays can stretch to forever but of all the days and meals of the week, why just a crammed hour slipped in the middle of deadlines and rushed appointments, and just before the weekend, when time is relatively slower and less pre-occupied that 48 hours seem so long because the only thing to do is think back to that one hour when you were across the table, eating, smiling, laughing, telling stories. When you were simply there. With me.