Sunday, October 03, 2004

Hopelessly Devoted To

Displaced, lost, homeless, surviving. This is my latest realization about myself.

It all seems to be coming together. I have admitted on and off to feeling lost, and to having no home, and--more recently--to feeling like I'm just surviving. But tonight, I forced myself to admit that I am lost.

Lost is my theme, my pattern, my central metaphor. Lost is who I am. I am lost. I have no reference. I am here but I don't know where here is. It made sense, makes sense. But not just lost.

My eldest sister, my most favorite sister, left home when I was young. She moved to Manila for college, then worked as a programmer, and managed to get transferred to Singapore. She is now in the States, working for a pharmaceutical company.

Then in third year high school, my father sent me to Manila to live with my aunt. I finished my high school away from my parents.

A month before I graduated from college, my mother died.

Holding that fake diploma in my hand, standing before my batchmates, I squinted and looked into the crowd. My mother should have been here. Instead, I see my two sisters with their husbands. I didn't invite my father. I realized at that moment that I didn't have a home to go back to.

My eldest sister went back to the States and my other sister went back to their house in Laguna. I moved out of our house and stayed in a ladies dorm.

Nearly a decade later, I'm here in this Makati condo, with a view of the urban wasteland. A distant water tower is my constant moon.

All these years, I've dreamed of doing something else, of being something, of finding myself, my true calling. I've been looking for the secret of my life. Was I an artist? A painter? A scuptor? A writer? A filmmaker? Or am I nothing but another credit card holder, paying the monthly minimums?

I am a copywriter! A trying hard graphic designer!

When I was young, I read a lot: Nancy Drew, Alfred Hitchcock, Enid Blyton, 1970s issues of Seventeen, Collier's Encyclopedia, Liwayway, Hiwaga. Just like my mother. I also drew and painted. I played the electric organ (Yamaha) and the guitar--but sucked at both. I wrote for the school paper. I did a couple of school plays and one for the church. I wanted to be an architect.

Somewhere along the way, I lost it. I lost the drive, the sense, the purpose. And I got lost.

This is my truth.

I am here, lost here. I have no home to go back to, no home to hope for, wish for or remember. I have no family to care for me. I am never where I should be. And I am fighting for my life.

Lost. This is neither good nor bad. It's just how it is now. I can't change it or change how things have been. All I can do is accept it and embrace it. This is my mark, my difference, my uniqueness. This is my damn fucking world, how I see things--my vision.

The road, the dirt road. The shade. The rain. The strangers that pass me by. The unreliable memories. These are all I have. And my wits and guts and my instinct for survival. How will it turn out? What will I do?