Found then Lost

When I graduated from university in 2014, I was filled with ambitions and goals to destroy a particular person. Being fueled by anger and rage isn’t really a viable source of energy. I burnt out. I had nothing and no one to hang onto, so I fell into a hole. After struggling for a year, I met some interesting people in a café near my place. Since my mother was a pain in the ass (she still is), I kept going back to them. First, they became close acquaintances because we talked about coffee. They got me to convert to speciality coffee rather than drinking shitty Starbucks coffee. From there, we talked about things that you would normally hear in a café in Europe like philosophy, economics, religion, literature, sociology, politics, etc.

From acquaintances, we became friends who asked about each others’ day or life. We gave each other encouragements and laughs. We’d talk for hours and hours about work, family, and university. It was like that for so many months until finally, I thought of them as a family.

Coming from a shitty family with shitty parents and no siblings, they were the closest thing I had to a family. We would care for each other. Truly care for each other. If something bad happened at home, they would come to the café to seek comfort. Heck, that was my reason why I kept going there every day. I would be there from the time they’d open to the time they’d closed. It was then that I realised three things about a family. You are either born into a family, make your own family, or find a new family.

I found a new family, and I was really happy that I did.

Then, something happened. The energy in our group became less and less. And, fewer and fewer people were coming back. Until one day, the café closed. Without a home, the family was cast away like evicted people on the streets. I saw them less not because it was difficult to see them (it was relatively easy) but because I didn’t know where they were hanging out.

After months of hiatus, the old café was declared bankrupt, and a new café would take its place. I was excited to see all of my old friends. I was excited to get that old life back. I was excited to have my family back again. But there was one thing that I didn’t take into account.

Time moves forward and so do the people with it. It was naive of me to think that nothing would change. It was childish to think that people would wait for me. During the hiatus, my friends were still in touch with each other. I, on the other hand, drifted further from them. And to top it all off, I had gotten incredibly ill. I had to stay at home for a month just to regain my strength.

My absence from everyone drove me away from them, and I just didn’t know how to catch up. I couldn’t tell them to wait for me because what kind of a dickbag friend would I be if I did?

I came to the new cafe every day as always. But then, staying there for hours on end became painful and uncomfortable. Everyone was closer with each other, and it felt like I was back at square one.

What really drove a stake through my chest was how friendly everyone was to this new girl. She achieved a level of friendliness that I never could, and she did that in the few months she knew everyone. I knew everyone for two years, and I still felt like an outsider.

As the months passed, my visiting hours at the cafe dwindled. I used to be there every night. The cafe would be packed with the regulars, and they’d share laughs and stories. Now, just being in the same room with all of them makes me feel small.

So, I started to slip away as naturally as I could. From every day to every other day, to every two days, to every five days, to every week. Now, once every two weeks.

I don’t even visit at night because I know everyone would be there, so I go as early as I can. The cafe is practically empty at opening hours save for the barista or the co-owner. Sometimes, I only go there if someone asks me when I’m not busy or if I have no coffee at home.

I feel much better now that I spend less time with them. Having my own bag of beans and coffee making equipment at home saves me tons of money. It’s also a good reason not to visit the cafe. I have lost those friends as my family, but I fell in love with a girl. Those friends of mine can’t give me what my girlfriend gives me, so I’m happy.

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Entangled Among the Celestials

These two realities of young and old collide

And from their hearts, the universe does amplify

It blossoms with a flame from their centrality

And kindles the old soul with immortality

Then endless heat embraces them until their peak

Realities converge and found the soul they seek

Living in a Limbo

For the past two weeks, my emotional and mental state have been driven into the dirt. Everyday for the past two weeks, I’ve been battling my depression and anxiety, and I’ve been telling myself that I still have a chance.

For the past two weeks, I’ve had possible signs of cancer. I thought I had bacterial infection. I took antibiotics for a week, but I didn’t improve. In fact, these lumps have spread even more. I took another kind of medicine, but it still didn’t work.


I listened in to a conversation between my friends, and they said that one of their friends had a similar condition to me. I didn’t want to chime in, so I just acted disinterested. They talked about how he might also have cancer and how much the chemotherapy would cost (it’s around Php1.6M).

Hearing how much it cost instantly shattered me. I was breaking on the inside. I couldn’t tell my friends what was happening to me. I don’t know why. I just shut down.

With that amount of money, it would put my family in poverty. I have no health insurance or a health care plan. Even if my family would be able to pay, my future would be ruined by it. The worst case scenario would be that I would die because I couldn’t fully pay for the treatment, and my family will be more broken and live in poverty.

I could die before I reached my 28th birthday.

I left my friends and immediately went home. I was having an anxiety attack. I felt Death coming to take me, and I was mortified. I have so many things to do in life, and I began to regret not doing them anytime sooner. I began to regret teaching because it didn’t earn me much, nor did it give me a solid health care plan.

Then I talked to the person who has kept me grounded for the past two weeks. She brings me happiness. She gives me clarity. Without her, my anxiety and depression would have taken me. She doesn’t know, but she’s my lighthouse in this hurricane. Just like a boat anchored to the seafloor, I can’t ever let her go.


Also, I had a fine needle biopsy, so I’ll know between 3-5 days what my fate will be.

Dazed and Confounded

It’s been a while since my last post, eh? Life’s been a blaze like a zombie on fire: stunned and confused, yet knew exactly what to do although never knowing how to execute it.

This’ll be a short one, so I’ll cut straight to the chase. I’ve been having nightmares every night for the past week.

Usually, I can immediately catch myself in a dream, and I could sometimes ride along it. However these nightmares have been working me to the bone. I wake up thinking they’re real, and each one involves some sort of terrible life changing experience.

Most of the nightmares are like recurrences of my some parts of my life, but the anxiety intensity has been cranked to a nine. What’s more intriguing is that my mother is always involved. I never dream about my mother, so you can see why I would think that these hellish episodes were documentaries and not some wicked M. Night Shaymalan fiction flicks.

I’m beginning to think that my anxiety is attacking my unconsciousness. I’ve been a bit on edge for the past few weeks, and this could be a manifestation of it. Why my mother is involved, I will never know.

Hopefully I can sleep tonight without freaking the fuck out.

Changing This Website’s Identity Once Again

It’s been over a week since I posted an essay here on this website. It looks like what I feared from the beginning came true: my posts are irregular. Throughout last week, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have the fire in me to keep writing. I had a solid schedule, so why couldn’t I keep up? That was the one question I couldn’t answer, yet I did notice something else that I was doing each day. I was always practising my Nihongo every time I had free time.

I still couldn’t understand why I wasn’t writing more frequently on this website. What’s the difference between practising Japanese and writing? It turns out, it’s a lot. I love writing, and that’s without a doubt. However, the biggest difference is grit.

A professor of mine posted a quote on grit, and I wondered where it came from. So I did a quick Google search and found this TED talk:

After watching it, I was able to answer that one question. The reason why I haven’t been writing is that I don’t have the grit for it. The reason why I practise Japanese each day is that I have the grit for it. In fact, anything that is remotely related to Japan immediately captures my full attention be it politics or pop culture. Looking back over two weeks ago, the most fun I had writing was my essay on Falling in Love with a 1980s J-Pop Idol and the Dangers of Reminiscing.

This got me thinking. I think my website should just be centred on my progress towards living and working in Japan (with the occasional blogs). I feel excited just thinking about it, and at the same time, a bit worried since I have never been to Japan and posting about Japanese things seems a bit wrong.

Yet, I think the benefits outweigh that very small consequence. Working and living in Japan has always motivated me ever since high school. I’m 27 right now, and even though I lost sight of Japan during university, I always seem to be drawn back to it.

The prospect of living and working in Japan gives me grit, and I’m totally happy with having my entire life revolve around everything Japanese.

Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

– Angela Lee Duckworth