Blind side

December 31, 2015
5:45am (drafted post)

About five days ago, Dad came over. He visited us after Christmas to see baby Coleen.

I was glad. I liked talking to Dad once in a while, but I honestly don’t like if he sticks around too long. We talked about many things when he offered to drop Mich and I off in Santolan. But it didn’t actually turn out well. I don’t know. It’s either because I’m too feisty, or his point didn’t come across to me properly. Nonetheless, I don’t like people telling me shit I already know. I don’t like people devaluing my hard work just because theirs didn’t amount to something worthwhile. I don’t like people imposing me their belief system.

I don’t like people preaching around like a damn saint just because they’re claiming to have found their salvation.

It disgusts me.

Dad and I somehow got into an argument because he keeps insisting his opinion, and when I point that out he disclaims it. He started blabbering about this thing between using your heart and brain. Somewhere around the lines “you’ll end up really sad if you only always use your brain”. Don’t know. Numerous clichéd lines you probably know.

It came off as an offense. It felt like he’s trying to tell me that I’m all just about brains, no heart. Jeezus. I don’t even know where he’s getting all the crap he’s saying. He doesn’t know anything about me, about any of us siblings. He’s just a person who happened to have ‘our dad’ label.

And it pisses me off.

That exchange didn’t seem enough when he stayed around for another day in the house, even inviting my young cousin Harris for a drink. He began preaching about some random thing again about courage, and I jokingly corrected his pronunciation. They all laughed, and Ate Ten pointed out, “Taga-UP yan! Haha”, which I didn’t exactly liked. Then Dad started blabbering again about this story about his friend who happened to be from UP as well. He told us about how this certain friend’s intelligence went to his head, and when they had a fight he remembered reciting a couple of supposedly staggering lines to get him through his senses. He kept pointing out that his friend’s being from UP wouldn’t have been possible without his help. And that his intelligence is complete naught if he ain’t street smart, to which Dad accredits himself.

Thing is, it’s the same stupid sequence. He starts blathering on about things he could glorify himself with, and puts down other people for relying on their brains. I didn’t understand. It ticked me off. In fact, Dad is smart. Mom had stories about him in high school when he’d ace exams without studying. And I could tell he is because he has a wide set of vocabulary. And he speaks well.

Is it insecurity, Dad?

That night, I know Dad realized he pissed me off. Because I kind of exploded when he continued his bullshit story. Almost shouting, I exclaimed how I should have just fuck it over with my damn studies if they’re just gonna give me a lot of crap for supposedly being “intelligent”. What the fuck do you want? Weren’t you all the one who wanted me to become who I am now? Weren’t you, lolo, and lola the ones who pressed me into doing all these fuckery now? You all made me think I needed to be somebody when I grow up, and the only way to that is to become who I am now. And now that I am who I am now, you’re giving me that crap? Bullshit.

What I told him wasn’t much, in fact it was short, because I said that in a slightly blind rage. But it was long enough to make him realize he crossed the line.

I vented out on twitter, wondered how pathetic insecure people are, because they’d try to put you down for everything you are, because everything you are is everything they’re not. I know it was mean of me to think of Dad that way, but he really hurt my pride. He didn’t have the right to be proud of me.

Two days after, Dad was back here again. When he arrived, I asked him why he was here, in my attempt to be rude. I know, how immature. Anyway, Ate told me he left his charger so he dropped by. Then I left to meet Dhea in UP Town Center.

A few minutes after arriving back, I found myself fooling around my siblings over Mich’s ridiculously bleached hair. And then Ate Ten mentioned that Dad would probably reprimand Mich if he sees her tonight. Surprised, I asked her if Dad’s staying in. She confirmed it, saying it’s just for the day. I’m guessing Dad went out to hang out with his friends so as to not waste his trip here (he lives in Pampanga, with my grandparents). And then I went acting annoyed. Ate Ten brought up the day when I burst out in front of Dad, told me Dad talked to her that night, saying he was surprised and saddened by how I reacted. To make the story short, I ended up arguing with my sister and her boyfriend about it, both of them insisting that I got it wrong. And Dad was sad. I know Dad is insecure, because I know despite his brains, he didn’t have a good life. He was a drug addict. Grandpa put him into rehab thrice, and was banished many times. I know life fucked him over, but that doesn’t give him the license to behave like that. I can’t help but be angry with him, even for reasons that didn’t involve those certain exchanges. It’s just like me. When this kind of things happen, flashbacks would haunt me. Specifically the bad ones. They always seem relevant when something’s fucking up in my life. I then remembered the days when I was a kid, barely familiar with the world. I was five then, and from school I arrived to a sight of Mom crying quietly in the living room, her neck bleeding; my younger sister screaming and crying apparently locked down in one of our rooms. And then I was seven. I woke up to the sound of two women crying and pleading. Slightly opening the door, I could see Dad throwing punches at mom, who’s apparently trying to cover and protect my then 16-year old eldest sister, who went home at 11pm to Dad’s rage. There were many. I witnessed a lot of things – awful, sad, tragic – when I was young. And almost all of them were times when I’d just stand there quietly, crying because I can’t do anything. My childhood wasn’t particularly happy, but it wasn’t exactly miserable either. To be fair, there are good memories with Dad. We were happy once. There were a lot of pictures of us looking really happy and content. I don’t know. Drugs fucked him up. And it broke our family.

And then Ate and Karl told me that it must be really difficult for Dad to deal with those insecurities because he knew he wasn’t able to fulfill his role as a father to us, and maybe it’s eating at him. And perhaps, whenever he gets together with his friends, they ask about us and he couldn’t say anything because he doesn’t really know anything. Maybe he didn’t expect us, especially Mom, to get through everything despite him abandoning us. Maybe he was drowning in regret, and this was the least he could do.

How much of it do I don’t understand, really?

Somehow, after that, my anger faded. And I’m writing this. Because I’m sad.

I’m sad for a lot of reasons. And I’m still trying to figure them out.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Ever encountered people who will really go out of their way to make you feel shitty for being who you are? Yeah, I know. What a miserable bunch. They will try to put you down for being everything that you are because everything that you are is everything they are not.

Trying to please everyone around you feels like being in a labyrinth — a huge one that didn’t actually have a way out. You go around strategizing and changing approaches, thinking if you tried hard enough, you’ll finally locate one.

But no, you’re perpetually trapped in the goddamn thing.

My life is like that kind of labyrinth.

Of course, I have changed my perspective on things through college. I realized just how idiotic and pointless it was to try to get everyone to like you, it won’t happen. But just because you understood that doesn’t mean change quickly follows. That kind of mindset was a social embedding made when I was a kid. It’s not going to wean off that easily.

All this time, it felt like I was just blindly trying to figure my way out of things. I tried to learn everything on my own as much as I can, tried to do everything as much as I could, all while simultaneously dealing with my twisted dispositions and emotional predicaments as a teenager. But none of it sufficed. Although I know it wasn’t, it’s as if none of my hardships paid off. As if all of these is stupidly pointless. And pointlessly stupid. 

And it never helped when discouragement and put downs came from the very people I expected support from. It never helped when people, especially my family, talk to me like I’m not doing it right.

Like how I might be a little too outspoken, honest, or straightforward.

Like how my strong personality might be too threatening to a potential partner’s ego.

Like how I might not be enjoying life the way I should.

Like how I might be too opinionated for my own good.

Like how I might be a little too serious for my age.

Like how I — there are tons of things. Innumerable. I never got it right. If you do nothing, people tell you off. If you try to do everything, people still do. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. I was always either doing it wrongly or inadequately. It was always not enough. It was simply never fucking enough.

I’m tired. At times like this, the only thing I could do is walk away.

You can’t keep insisting gold to a person who only sees blue. You can never describe light to a person born blind. People deny and destroy what they can’t make sense of. You cannot force everyone to see things the way you see it. You cannot make everyone understand.

But you can try. You can only try hard enough.

Price

After a long time, I finally had some time to get back to my old self. I feel like a child again. It’s pretty sad that this happy feeling doesn’t last, and I’m usually stuck at that point in my life where I’m simply just motivated to do a lot of things, and I don’t make a lot of effort to inch forward.

Phew. I don’t know. Movies, a little practice on photoshop, checking out animes, playing with our dogs, learning new songs with my guitar, nonstop attempt on singing and shit. That’s all I do. And none of these things were in my initial to-do-list this vacation. I wanted to be productive. I wanted to hone my graphic making skills. I wanted to learn a lil bit of videography. I wanted so much of the things that would pamper my ego, and that would at least make me feel less inferior to him. Because I’m feeling so small, so small now… Like I was a-good-for-nothing idiot. I thought I’ve made it in here because I was doing just great in life. I studied in the highest university. I worked hard. I didn’t have vices. I put off things that would hinder me from being successful. I wrote off my own dreams to concentrate on my course. I didn’t go to a lot of parties. I shut out a lot of people. I did almost anything to uplift the image and honor I’ve established ever since I was a kid. The kind of honor my sisters couldn’t give Mom, because I thought they were useless and worthless.

And now I’m beginning to think I chose the wrong path. I’m the lone person here that isn’t happy. Honor and excellence. I thought I was doing everything right. I wanted it more than anyone. And yet I’m here. Drowning. Suffocated by own decision of isolation. I was there already—I felt the advantage of being different. Or more accurately, in my perspective back then, being distinct.

I guess that was my reward for being alone. Or putting it another way, I guess being alone was the price.

And I’m not happy. I’m no longer happy.

Yet I feel like no one can hurt me anymore. Because I have nobody. I don’t have anyone I love left.

Homeless

I thought this vacation would do me great because I could finally freshen up and rest. Especially after last semester.

But nothing went right the past few days. The past weeks. And I’m beginning to think I’m better off away from home. I realized that seeing my siblings once in a while is a whole lot better than living with them. My life is in constant chaos. I’m emotionally fucking up, and I’m getting really, really, bad. Again. So I resort to writing. At least this calms me down a bit. Although I’m not really sure about what I’m writing.

Last night I exploded.

I cleaned the fridge before preparing my own dinner because I didn’t like what’s prepared. I was talking to mom on Skype, while reading a book, when my eldest sister stormed the room and began asking me about her retainers. And then she mentioned about the fridge and shit and hastily blamed me for her lost retainers. And began cursing at me. What the fucking hell even. I told her I checked the goddamn bags before throwing them away, because I took note of her retainers. She muttered something before slamming the door close. I can still hear her grumbling then. Mom did not hear anything. She left to get something, leaving her earphones plugged. I sent her a message and told her what happened. My eldest sister went inside the room. Fast forward. I began shouting. Uncontrollably. I lost my temper. She kept calling me derogatory terms, and I continuously shot back by repeatedly calling her a bastard. I was exploding. Literally. And that was the first time in a long time. I did not cry though. But my voice was shaking. I was shouting at her wide eyed. My two sisters interfered and they ended up fighting as well. Mom couldn’t get in between us. My sister said she wanted to beat me up. Then she started crying. I went too far. I said something considered taboo among us siblings. But I lost it. I wanted to hurt her as much as she hurt me. I put on my earphones because I didn’t want to listen to her and her stupid drama—I didn’t want to listen to that conversation with Mom. Of course she’d justify herself. Of course this is going to be one-sided, because I rarely talk about my side. I know I’d come out at fault here anyway because I made her cry, and I crossed the line. Mom knows I say the most hurtful things. I didn’t want—or need—to explain. Who’d listen? Who’d believe me? Besides I’ve basically established an image in the family—at least to Mom’s eyes—the one with an antagonistic disposition. I was too different. And it wasn’t in a good sense. At least to me. It was 5am. Mom baded goodbye, my sister shut down the laptop. I was on my bed with my book and laptop, loud music blasting my ears. I was still staring at the page where I stopped, reading the same lines over and over. I couldn’t understand anything. My two other sisters were already asleep. The eldest was headed to bed. I continued reading. I didn’t want to think of anything. I finished the book at around 7am. I switched my laptop off, which was on for no reason. I removed my earphones. I stared into the darkness. Fuck it. Everything my eldest sister said flashed back in. And it dawned on me. They didn’t like me here. In fact, they prefer me being away. It makes sense. Whenever I come back, I only have Baro to welcome me. I thought I was beginning to be less bad, beginning to like my siblings. I was happy with my family. All content and grateful.  I thought they started liking me too. And then this happened. In an instant, I went back to square one. I guess everything I believed in were merely in my head. My hatred towards them resurfaced. Lies. Everything Mom relayed to me about them began shaping into lies. I cried. Only for a while. I stayed on my bed the next morning. They were helping my cousin repaint our walls in the living room. I went out and chitchatted with my two other sisters. The eldest was out to buy paint. I went back to the room. Checked my phone, found three messages from Mom. Reprimanding me. Told me to apologize. Obviously I didn’t, and I had no plans to. Hours later, all of them were painting. I was still in the room. I went out, and turned out I was only a nuisance. I couldn’t help them, I have other plans. I needed to take a bath, but my younger sister was painting the door in the bathroom. She started acting annoyed when I asked her to step aside. My other sister too, because plainly I was being a bother, and I wasn’t even helping. I took a bath anyway. Went back to the room. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I packed my stuff, all set to head to my boarding house to stay there. Tears dripped down my cheeks. I worked my way out anyway. I didn’t say bye to anyone. When I was already headed for the gate, the second to the eldest called me and asked where I’m headed. I muttered ‘basta’ and hurried away. I went back home anyway. Fast forward. I’m on my bed, typing this in the dark, they were all in the living room. Talking to Mom. Happy.

No place like home? Yeah right.

I guess I don’t have one.