Alter Ego

What if I am just an idea formed in the
mind of another loner like myself?

Halfway across the globe, face pressed
against the windowpane, staring into the
pouring rain outside, wishing she had
somebody to call on — somebody to discuss
anything with, from what happened last
night up to the parts of a person they would
never let us love.

Frozen lips blue with asphyxiation pressed
up against the warm lips of the coffee cup
possibly the only lips she will ever get to
press up against in this lifetime of solitude
and peace and silence she had built for herself

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Fight or Flight

I will be turning a year older tomorrow. On the one hand I feel so young and insecure, as though I was born yesterday. I am filled up to the brim with a swirling energy to spread my wings and to conquer the entire world. I am jammed with passion for things and places that are yet to be discovered. Most of all, there is so much curiosity in the depths of my soul for everything unknown in the world; the kind of yearning portrayed in movies and novels, and in the lost sad lives of the young and the careless. Every second of this goddamn life feels so much like an unfolding Bildungsroman.

But on the other hand I feel so old, like someone who has lived through the end of life. There is too much in my soul that begs for calmness, for repose, for a supertemporal silence in a world full of noise.

I see myself in the faces of old people around me and how I lose myself every time I trace the crooked lines in their wrinkled faces, the fading life in their graying hair, the smell of breath and old age in their every uttered word. I admire their composure as they stare unflinchingly at blank spaces in front of them for hours on end without feeling lost in the emptiness of the surrounding void. I admire their complacency and their courage to confront the staring abyss, and to feel no ounce of doubt in the reflection that stares back at them.

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A Naked Truth

To fight for words
To stumble and lose
In my twisted tongue
Fragile words, and few.

Monday did not let me lose face when it let me pass through the day unscathed and unharmed. I scrambled for words at the back of my tongue, hoping to find a perfect kind of articulation for two class reports that were due that day. And I did find words, but only remnants from this self-made word wars in my head. And before my eyes I saw shards of glass, scraps of metal, bloodstains, bleeding.

Monday went as it arrived — completely forgettable, faceless, bland. But Tuesday was a betrayer of trust.

I thought about leaving my paper empty as I stared paralyzed and defenseless at the sudden onslaught of questions. I thought about submitting a blank sheet before my professor, prepared with a perfectly resolute argument in my head as to why I refuse to translate Nietzsche into words, into anything close to intelligible, into any thing at all.

It was not arrogance but rather something that persists at the opposite pole: repentance, or perhaps, self-reproach. I never understood him. He never wanted to be understood.

I clenched my pen with my outraged fingers and hoped instead to write about the source of my irrational madness and my fuming rejection to answer the midterm exam. For a minute or two, I felt my professor’s eyes on me, and how his gaze made me hide in humiliation.

There was no one but Nietzsche.

My shame stripped me off of my defenses, of my excuses. My guilt, a screaming sea. For the first time ever I felt numb and naked like a newborn cursed with the consciousness of the world. With Nietzsche I felt bare-skinned, unconcealed, and raw. With Nietzsche I felt no need for words.

I don’t want to write. I never want to write again.

Spaceless

I need a release.

It would probably take an entire day or two, or maybe even a lifetime, like writing a Proust novel of some sort, for me to tell Mom how differently my thoughts about love, relationships, family, God, religion, and life in general have changed since I left home.

Not that leaving home was a good thing, but it certainly gave me a bit more of a perspective and transformed me from that typical high school girl who knows too much about rebellion but was rather too scared to step out of her comfort zone, into a person who actually took a step, however frail and fragile such a step at first seemed.

In retrospect, it seemed manageable, easy. But transitions are always the hardest to take especially when one has no strong hold of everything that has shaken and has broken loose.

I still remember our house in the South, as that which one of my estranged friends referred to as my ‘fortress,’ for in there I was more than guarded, I was safe and sound. But more than that, I was watched upon. And isn’t this what’s missing in the world that is out there? For we look so much at what’s ahead of us that we don’t even look anymore at that which is in front of us, that we don’t look anymore upon each other.

I still remember my father’s eyes, and how they burned, tortured, arrested my soul with his steadfast surveillance as much as I burned with his steadfast love. In high school, I thought of love as chains shackled around my feet, refusing to give me movement. But in college I roamed the empty unfamiliar streets with boys begging for the same love that my father has so selflessly lavished upon me.

But arrogance stopped me from running back to my father’s feet, asking for forgiveness for whatever it was that had me sundered from them all. We always look at the present as something that ‘needs more’ of everything: needs more space, needs more time, needs more improvement. In high school I thought I needed more freedom than home was able to provide for me, but in college I thought of home, safe and adequate, for all that I was wanting, missing, longing for.

I look at this life now, with a vision that’s still blurry from all the things that has happened for the past three years in the university, trying to see what my Mom and my Dad would see, trying to carefully extract their perceptions of what has become of their divergent daughter.

There are instances when I would feel proud of my accomplishments, of my experiences; when I would send over to Mom a photo of a certificate I received from a seminar in a private university; when I would tell Dad about thoughts that were so conceived in the midst of my trying to philosophize about every fucking thing in the world. But in the end it would all seem so small, so insignificant, and I would hark back to a day when I was just a little girl and how my every action was more than enough to make them satisfied.

There is something about innocence, and the art of forgetting, that detaches man from all of the present and brings him face to face once more with his child-like self. And it is not just about the mere negation of what was already been situated in the here and now. But far from that, it is a return to the more aboriginal of being, that which is naive and infantile, a soul unblemished and uncorrupted.

Aren’t we doomed with our memories, we the remembering mass of humans? Would life be any different had it been the case that our minds could retain only a day’s worth of memory and discard them thereafter?

There are days when I would wish for a tennis ball, or even the big neighboring ball that is the moon, to strike me on the head, to make me forget history. But forgetting history would also mean forgetting the good and the bad, forgetting Mom and Dad, forgetting all people, forgetting even the self. But how could one live in oblivion? How could one live at all?

I think about the future, and in my projections of what is to come, I see nothing. A blank space, an eternal rivulet of the nameless and the nothingness. Back in the days when people asks me of my plans I would respond with a healthy enthusiasm and present them a delicately drawn portrait of all my hopes and dreams which include getting my degree on time, landing a job, taking all that there is to take in life with all the energy of a Spanish bull.

But when people asks me now, I would think about the void and how it engulfs us deeper and deeper into that which is uncanny. It reminds me of the ending part of Murakami’s 1987 novel Norwegian Wood where Midori asks Watanabe where he is. Watanabe’s response was rather eerie, belonging to the terrifying unseen. And in his place I feel firmly fastened as well.

Where are you now?
Where was I now?

Gripping the receiver, I raised my heads and turned to see what lay beyond the phone box. Where was I now? I had no idea. No idea at all. Where was this place? All that flashed into my eyes were the countless shapes of people walking by to nowhere. Again and again I called out for Midori from the dead center of this place that was no place.

Existing in the Nameless

It’s funny how the moment you start writing about your thoughts, the more its clanging sound thump louder in your chest and make every inch of silence a running refuge. And I wonder where can one escape, where can one flee, to find a momentary solace in a world full of roar.

Is this what it feels like to “exist in the nameless” like what my Metaphysics professor spoke to us earlier this Monday morning? To exist in the nameless, to to be overwhelmed by anxiety, to suffer the hell of authentic boredom, to be indifferent to the world each day: these are some of the experiences I know too well, to the point that they become my life, my soul, my totality.

I don’t know what my classmates felt about that. But they did look indifferent about the matter, indifferent in such a stupid way. I wonder if they have easier, more comfortable lives, more free from pain. Do they ever stop for a moment and think about the world and how difficult it is to exist in such uncertainty? Do they ever get the feeling of, what did Sartre called it, nausea?

If I switch places with them, will I find a more fulfilling existence or will it be like my owndead and decaying all at the same time? Will life be better, brighter, if I was someone else? I wish I was someone else.