A worn warrior wobbles at his feet. The weight of penetrated arrows hunkers him down as his blood trickles through the feathers. A thousand spears shall thrust into him, but instead of fearing pain, a rush of thrill exhilarates him. For, it is not the death which readies him at a stance, but the process of prevailing the peril is what stamps a grin on his tired face. With a crazed look in his eye, he bravely accepts the challenge.
Please read Found then Lost before reading this entry. The entry below is a realisation of my current relationship with the people I once thought of as my family.
Have you ever felt so misplaced? Have you ever questioned your reality and wondered why you were birthed unto this spinning mudball? For so long, I felt I never belonged to someone or something. The first time I thought I belonged somewhere was my love for musical theatre. Being on stage gave me solidarity and sureness. I felt strong and confident.
As time went on, people moved forward from the theatre, and I lagged. I could never understand how they could move forward and how they could be so happy. Looking back at it now, I realise that having a strong foundation and support system propels people forward. I never had parents who supported me like that. What I had were two separate parents supporting me like I was their child. I think I was raised as two people by two parents and not by a loving couple.
After years of being alone, I found a new family from that cafe I mentioned in Found then Lost. I was trying to deny the fact that I was losing them as a family by staying at the cafe, ordering drinks, and listening to their conversations like nothing ever happened. The thing is though that something did happen, and I didn’t know what to do about it.
I thought that staying with them would bring myself back to them. The more I visited, the more hurt I felt because I saw how disconnected I was from them. I was once so close with them and seeing them be so friendly and family-like without me hurt. Being with them hurt me more than knowing I lost them.
Imagine a tiny larva wanting to be with a magnificent eagle, so the larva attaches itself to it. The eagle does not care for the larva, for the eagle is magnificent, and the larva is an insect. The wind from the eagle is too strong and too fast for the larva, but the larva sees the beauty of the eagle, so it hangs on more. However, the longer the larva is with the eagle, the more tired it gets. The larva realises that an insect cannot survive by being with a bird, so the larva leaves for good.
It’s been a while since I’ve last seen them. I assume that they’re doing well without me because why wouldn’t they be? Ever since I decided to detach myself from them, I felt so much lighter. I sometimes hear the raucous excitement from the cafe in my room (I live that close), and I feel sad that I’m left out. I tell myself, “It’s okay. I would feel worse if I was there with them.” Then, I’d go back to work. I’d move forward. I will continue to look for another place I could call home because I’m sure it’s no longer with them.
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.
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
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.