pym

Philippines

I dream. I write. That's basically it. But if I'm not doing both, I can be found binge watching films, hoarding books, stealing fancy pens, and surprisingly, running a start-up business.

Message to Readers

Not really expecting a feedback, but I hope my story moves you and inspires you to write your own voice. Thank you so much for reading!

Real

July 19, 2019

GROUP: True Stories

I STOPPED LISTENING TO MY FAVORITE SONG FOR 1 YEAR. 

It's Real by Years and Years.  

It was torture. And it felt like a stupid thing to do. But my resolve was firm. I told myself over and over again that it was necessary and that if I had enough hold of myself, if I had enough control in me, then it shouldn't be a problem. How hard was it to stop listening to one song when there were millions of other songs out there that I could listen to? But the real question was, "Why did I stop listening to it to begin with?" 

And it all boiled down to one reason: a close friend had passed away and it changed nearly everything that happened in my life afterwards. 

Blame it on teenage existential crisis, but at that time, it felt cruel and disturbing to watch the world wipe out a person that easily and instantly, as if he never existed at all. He remains forevermore a teenager, one and a half months short of being 20, succumbing to a very rare medical condition that affected 90% of middle-aged females. He was neither middle-aged nor female. It was, as fate called, an unlucky mishap in genetic lottery. As a 17 year old teenager, it was a traumatizing fragment of my life. I could not decipher in my head how someone like me basking in youth, dreaming of starting a new chapter in life would be wiped out in a matter of months since I've known him. It wasn't just a boy wiped out. It was all the dreams down the drain, all the hopes of a future now non-existent. It was eternal youth. But not the good kind.

Now, after a year had passed, I still have those moments of disturbance, those uninterrupted hours when I'm all alone in my room and the silence screams at me to remember. In those moments, I wonder if he ever existed at all. 

I never met him. So I never truly knew if he did exist. The only proof I had that he did were chat boxes and chat histories that I didn't want to reread again. For someone who values words deeper than many, for a writer like me, those words have built friendships, in the same way that they have destroyed them in the end. I've learned to cherish the power of words after he passed, but I have also learned that words could be turned against you if you fanatically believed in them too much. Even as a writer, you have to carefully read through phrases and sentences. To know which are real and not. Regardless, I had a stream of questions in my head left unanswered, and until now, those questions remained the way they were. Only I no longer wanted to hear the answers to them. It was pointless to. And I've buried them, never to be dug up again.

So I stopped listening to my favorite song. 

Real was one of those songs that reminded me of what's gone and what could've been. I told him that I would send that song to a crush if I could at that time when he was hell-bent on shipping me with his roommate. He kept on harping about it until the day he passed, and it was one of those cryptic things that disturbed me shit-less when I realized he was the last thing we talked about. Weeks later, that roommate sent an email as a one-time friend telling me he liked me but he was reminded too much of what was lost and in those agonizing minutes of reading that mail, unwanted and unsolicited tears escaped through my eyes, words burning me in grief and rage that I didn't know how exploded from within me, but most importantly, a bleak, quiet moment of understanding how loss could redefine us and our choices. How a single person could completely shift your whole perspective upside down and slap you with reality: that we are vagrant, fleeting and we should attempt to be better before we couldn't anymore.

We never got together. And I'm honestly relieved. I sent an email within the same night, telling him that I did like him as well, but it's just that. The next morning, while I was frantically running around our high school to fix my last minute college applications, I opened my mail and saw a reply from him, even though he said it was one-time, telling me of a cryptic (possible) next life where we could be together. 

Today is exactly one year when he sent that mail. It's still there, scratching to haunt and disturb me in between moments of silence. I've moved those mails to the trash bin. Still there, not fully deleted. It would take a while to be on its own. But I've spent the last year building my own next life, pushing out of my comfort zone, working hard day by day both in my pursuit of becoming a writer and a young entrepreneur. I'm still angsty, still in the middle of an existential crisis, still making bad decisions as a once 17 year old and now 18. I've had losses more heartbreaking than what I've expected after a friend's passing. (I didn't have a debut to celebrate legality. Is that even counted as a loss?) But I've had gains I never saw coming too. (Like winning Asia-Pacific business competitions and getting my face plastered on newspapers, radios and televisions for it.) Day by day, month by month, life unfolded with its twists and turns, rises and downfalls.
 
But there.

Histories, memories, losses, gains, grief, rage, understanding, youth:

all tied up to a 4:45 minute song.

I spent the year ignoring Youtube popping out the all too familiar icon, thinking whether Youtube found it odd that I was no longer clicking the same song I've been clicking on repeat for 50 times a day. And while I was listening to Years and Years' 20 other different songs, I made it a robotic, unthinking, unblinking action to skip that song when it began to play.

But now, I'm letting go.

And as Olly's voice sings, "I broke my bones, playing games with you," until ends with, "Love I will let you go,"

I celebrate what's real.

I celebrate my voice.

And I'm proud of the courage I've built in a year to share this story.
 

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  • July 19, 2019 - 2:43am (Now Viewing)

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