What is the line between what matters and what doesn’t? Don’t important things start as “insignificant” until time casts its magic upon them that they turn valuable?
Distinguishing which is worth keeping and which is worth throwing away has never been my area of expertise. I am the kind who becomes sentimental even in the minute piece of trash— like a piece of paper with doodles and almost-illegible scribble passed on to a seatmate in one of the many classes I took up in college.
Such I guess is the reason why on Saturday (January 10) when I finally decided to clean and rid my room of university paraphernalia that were lying around since my last final exam (February 2014), it took me more than six hours [I am not exaggerating] to tidy up. A normal human being can finish a task like that with ease for two hours. What is so hard about separating rubbish from the essential anyway?
I will tell you what is so difficult about it. Every remnant of college, even the most little of things, reminds me of the good four years of university. It provides me with a comforting memory of the past, a past that I will never be able to revive again. I am indeed nostalgic, and the only way to appease my yearning to go back is to hold on to books filled with marginal annotations that agree and question at the same time, notebooks packed with lecture notes as well as casual drawings, pages and pages of essays bleeding with red ink and others with excellent marks, quiz papers with commendable and failing grades, and syllabi of terror and kind professors alike.
Let others laugh at my folly, at this madness— of hoarding junk and treating them as prized possessions. What can I do? Those pieces holding both beautiful and tormenting shadows of yesterday are my only anchor to the “I” who I will never encounter again. Those memories in concrete form contain my personal history and serve as my only portal to a reality that will soon be distant from the present. Wouldn’t anyone feel compelled to do the same?
It is common for people to say with ease and excitement that we have to give ourselves the chance to begin with a clean slate. To start fresh, they mean to bury the days of yesteryears in the depths of one’s consciousness—far from the human capacity of recollection. I strongly disagree however, on this concept of “moving on” for I deem it as a futile act of courage. It distorts a person’s perception of genuine boldness by masking the act of running away, of wiping the bitter tasting memories of the previous years as the authentic kind of fortitude.
Every human being is always bound by a past. Therefore, I believe that forgetting is not the formula for moving forward. It is the right amount of remembering paired with a heart that is prepared to embrace and reconcile with the monsters behind one’s shoulders that pulls a person away from the bondage of his/her history.
The year 2014 was not as friendly as I hoped it would be. It was, in summary, a period of turbulence. Many had not notice, but the previous year almost made me bend. Every single waking hour I would try to pull myself from my bed and drag my feet to the places where I was supposed to be— where I was expected to appear. I was living a life of pretention for months and a life of persistent melancholy for the most part.
I was faced with the constant struggle of parting with my university, with the place I called home for four wonderful years. It was not easy to simply walk away after investing time and effort in building ties and creating friendships. It brought excessive anxiety that terribly downed every spirit of joy in my system. I entered a phase of depression where I would secretly cry at night and fake a laugh at day time.
Not being able to connect with office mates and breeding hate for my co-trainees did not help either. The storm was further worsened by the appendectomy I went through. Those days in the hospital made me want to simply yield. Without anyone’s knowledge I was stealthily praying that my emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual agony be taken for good. I was already tired of being lonely that self-destruction was in fact a thing I considered. Realizing though that turning my back against life would be the most coward act, I diverted my attention to the nicer things it has to offer.
Today, I am here. I cannot help but smile as I reminisce the recent year. Maybe I am a lunatic for taking pleasure in the misery I experienced, a sadist for enjoying the memory of my suffering. I vowed to try not to consign to oblivion the austerity of last year, to not omit the days I was tortured by this universe. I made a promise to myself to always carry with me the memory of grief, that I may recognize genuine happiness; of weakness, that I may remember strength; of darkness, that I may be reminded of light; and of hate, that I may see authentic love.
I was bruised, damaged, and broken, yet I was able to rise from the devastation. I have not fully healed yet, nor am I completely fixed. I am still in the process of mending myself but I am pretty sure that I emerged a victor from all the challenges 2014 threw at me.
I wouldn’t be able to withstand everything that happened without the support of this crazy family who has always been with me and will always be with me in every battle I faced and about to encounter. I am simply grateful for having these people behind my back and for my takeaways from 2014. Cheers to 2015!
*An attempt to get the writing groove back.