********** Written days before my birthday **********
“The essence of the suicides consisted not of sadness or mystery but simple selfishness. … They became too powerful to live among us, too self-concerned, too visionary, too blind. What lingered after them was not life, which always overcomes natural death, but the most trivial list of mundane facts: a clock ticking on a wall, a room dim at noon, and the outrageousness of a human being thinking only of herself.” – From The Virgin Suicides by Jefferey Eugenides
“I feel old, but not very wise.” – An Education
Today is my birthday. I am 30 years old. As a way of looking back and as my usual way of nerding out, I present to you the links to past birthday entries I wrote for your sheer torture: 2009, 2010, and 2011.
I have tidbits of events planned to make me giddy. These are better than any drugs to balance what-have-you’s. I want this to be a “red” day (because I love red). I want to binge on Wong Kar Wai and Kurosawa films; watch Lost in Translation, Hotel Chevalier, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind again; and listen to songs from the list I have for the imminent event that is my wake (yes, I even plan to control and orchestrate the process of commemorating my death). I want to release sky lanterns, eat a bag of chips laced with lime juice and tabasco sauce, and read three poems (or 30, depends on the time available and on industriousness). I plan to visit the grave of my stepmom. And of course, visit my baby orphans. I don’t know how it’s possible to fit all these in a 24-hour timetable so we’ll have these done by batches.
As to the matter of age, I don’t dread turning 30. I actually look forward to it since I assume it will spark an onslaught of maturity from the quiet skies. No such luck. Thus, the second epigraph, thus the niggling sense of alarm.
I still hold the same goals, I still carry that rock-hard anchor within that weighs me down, I still hate mornings and perky people. Thing is, I realized that the way I weigh relationships is similar to Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s bedrock of tactics. I am in no way smart like her. I can never equal her zest for learning, hell, I haven’t even gone past the prologue or introduction of the Philippine Constitution. But there were things I read about her that made me realize that we’re similar in mindset when it comes to sizing up people. It’s pretty exciting to carry this realization. Exciting and mind-boggling.
I dread going over the past birthday entries since I know there are patterns and echoing sentiments. I have come to realize some truths and one of these is the following: That like in a Garcia Marquez novel, I am bound by mirages and by invisible walls and that there’s no escaping these despite cyclones of saving. In the end, it’s tiresome to listen to one’s very own voices most of the time. I’d rather drown in songs and words and listen to my bones whistling in the winds. I’d rather fly sky lanterns and chase tumbleweeds on a deserted beach. I’d rather catch wishing feathers and dance behind trees.
Turning 30 spells a new world of adventures and misadventures, my wooden owl figure, Howl, hoots this message to me from its post as I type these words away. That’s why I can’t wait to “Go Do” and find myself “Dancing Barefoot” and to “…Get Out” under a “Concrete Sky” while “Walking on Broken Glass”.
Remember Alex’s favorite question to his posse, “What’s it going to be then, eh?”? Here’s my brazen answer as a 30-year-old: Just watch and learn, baby, just watch (me) and learn. And walk away stat.
********** Written a day after my birthday **********
“I’m so craving for alcohol I’m willing to drink by myself in a bar tonight with good music making my dry heart go thump-thump.” – from me posted somewhere
Thanks to M.A. friends, I was able to satisfy my craving for alcohol. We hung out, I met a couple of new friends, I got to hang out with my loves T and G and L (who kept missing the beat and skipping “pea” in “peacock” so all she was singing was “I wanna see your …cock, cock, cock, cock!” It was horrendous). I wasn’t able to catch a gig, but this place was enough to sustain our excitement. By 3AM, my heart was palpitating and my stomach was excited to disgorge its contents. At 9AM, my head was rebelling against my wishes. It seemed there was a Komatsu bull dozer in my brain weighing everything down.
No matter. I was able to do the things I like; well, some of it based on my extensive list of to-dos. I watched some movies, did binge drinking, listened to songs, read some poems. I even cleaned the bathroom because my OC syndrome kicked in. Someone nice cooked adobo (!) for me for the third time plus ginataang tilapia and prepared suman/mango/tsokolate combo because I’ve been craving for them for weeks!
I am set to visit my kids at an orphanage one of these days. I’m so excited for this since it’s quite an ambitious project, haha! After this, I’ll certainly be broke but I’ll certainly be happy (right, Alanis?)
And as G and I were making fun of a stranger belting out “may pinaghuhugutan” songs, I took a photo of G and I. We were smiling, we looked drunk and loopy, and I was leaning close to him. And everything felt right despite our deep talks about things that concerned his heart. That moment, everything clicked into place, and the picture can never encapsulate the stories behind our smiles, the tight hold I had of his arm.
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” – from the Dr. Seuss book, Happy Birthday To You!