Authentic beauty seeks no validation. It remains beautiful even with the absence of a spectator.
Yesterday, I turned 22. Twenty-two. It feels weird to say, or to think even, that I have been here that long. I guess it’s true what they say – that it’s only the outer shell that ages, and that you’re still the same person inside. Maybe if people were merely souls and had no outer shells, the only sign of one’s age would be one’s wisdom. Maybe.
Anyway. I decided to skip school yesterday and go on a solitary trip to Tagaytay. The moment I hopped on the bus, a strange sense of liberation and nostalgia overwhelmed me. It’s been so long since I’ve gone somewhere or done something on my own. Maybe it’s because I’ve made some really good improvements with my social life the past year. I think I might have spent more time with people than I have with myself, which is not bad at all. But with everything that I have been working on recently, I couldn’t help but cancel plans that day which involved socializing (sorry, cousins). I wanted to give myself time to breathe and process things.
I bought my CD walkman with me and listened to the recent mixtape I’ve made on the way to my destination. The mixtape contained songs which reminded me of my grade school and high school years. I read a book in the restaurant where I had lunch, and I wrote on my journal in a small coffee shop later that day. Prior to leaving, I also managed to watch a coming-of-age film that morning, which was about how a child celebrates her everyday life despite living in a harsh environment. So, yesterday’s trip really felt like a throwback of some sort, because I was finally able to do the things that I haven’t done in a while.
I looked back on the life that I’ve lived so far and I guess I had to forgive myself for all the versions of me that I wanted but did not become. Maybe I’ll still have fragments of those as I go on in life, but they will remain only in periphery in the form of a side interest, or a memory.
Twenty-two years. I don’t know what version I’ll become years from now, but maybe the current -flawed, thirsty for improvement- version of me is worth celebrating in itself.
It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it… but it’s a party… and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining… and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… but – but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual… but because… that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s – That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.
– Frances Ha (2012)
I got a pinhole camera last week from Genessi. Rain and Joshua assembled it for me the day after. I’m excited to play around with this new toy! 🙂
So, here’s the thing: I refuse to commodify adventure.
It happened some time this semester when I desperately wanted to go on an adventure – which translated into a hike/beach/road trip or any forms of travel in the literal sense – in the hopes of taking myself out from a dull routine. But because of time and financial difficulties as a student, I was left with the following ordinaries: poolside meetings, travel between home and school, early dinners in convenience stores and street side eateries, and frequent visits to the bookstore among others. And it is in these seemingly forgettable moments that I was reminded of a different sense of adventure.
This is the kind that makes use of the common, the kind that magnifies the ordinary, for it to metamorphose into a meaningful encounter. The kind that is quieter, less costly yet equally, if not more, lovely. The kind that is, with constant training of the mind, always readily available. It can take great efforts at times to see from this perspective, but never stop trying. Somewhere along the way, I am hopeful you will meet rare souls who will let you experience every day as a new exploration.
Adventure in the literal sense is great. But I hope you also find excitement and wonder in sitting silently next to someone while watching the rain fall, in dancing to the music played in convenience stores, in the bus rides between home and school, in going past strangers on your way somewhere (every. single. day. THE WORLD IS BIG), even and mostly in mere conversations.
Most of the time, I feel some kind of disconnection from my generation, if not from humans in general. Perhaps this is caused by the diminishing wonder in most people as they enter the world of adulthood, or such that comes with the realization that the world has its terrible parts. Although at some point, I, too, am guilty of this – I have become one with the forgetful and have not taken notice of life’s charm for a while. I can’t blame people. It’s very unchallenging to hate the world. If you’re not careful, you could easily become some sort of a machine who wakes up to the same day and sleeps on the same night for the rest of your life, which is one of the scariest and saddest things that could happen. I have met so many people who are exactly like that. They walk in such a manner as though they are always late for something. They do not bother to look up, or to look outside, that a sun rises and sets without their awareness. Such are the people who have gone blind.
But you can fight this threatening loss, no matter how long you journey in life. It is by remembrance and further exploration that one can battle against forgetfulness. Needless to say, these require deliberate actions. This may mean slowing down, taking a necessary short pause. I must warn you, though. In the land of the forgetful, many raise their brows on whoever refuses to be like the rest. They call those who see things that they don’t many names – weird, alien, crazy. But you must not lose heart. In the land of the forgetful, blessed are those who are blind to the ordinary – the only blindness one should possess.
And if you never stop praying, seeking, and waiting, you will come across people who will stir your fascination and passion in life. Build connections with such souls. They are beneficial in maintaining the magic in your journey. Sometimes, they are the magic. Sometimes, they are home.