Silence like a cancer grows

I wish that the tears, like words, would never come, but they do.

“Hello? Hello?…Just go to sleep.”

I hear you, but I can’t say anymore, my tongue a boulder blocking the cave where all of my thoughts dwell. I’m always caught between one foot out the door and one planted in place by the gravity of the situation. I feel like it’s been ages since a real smile crept across your face. Replaced by a scowl that my existence put there. As if it, too were trying to crawl the distance between you and I.

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30 Facts, finished

This is just a continuation, rather a do-over of an old post…because…I should finish things I start. It’s actually ridiculously hard to come up with 30 random facts that are interesting, but here it goes:

  1. I was born in the Philippines but raised on Guam.
  2. Hot coffee makes me sleepy
  3. I hate winter with a passion
  4. I got into my head one year that I wanted to run away with the circus so I did trapeze. Twice.
  5. I lived in Japan and taught English for three years.
  6. I like martial arts and kung fu movies.
  7. I don’t like soda and I’m not a huge fan of ice cream…but I love root beer floats.
  8. I don’t eat pork or beef.
  9. The weirdest thing I ever ate was a shishkabob stick of grilled squid beaks, and I only did it because someone told my it would make my face beautiful.
  10. I have this dream of being a trumpet player in a surf rock band. Currently I can play “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
  11. I love Jackie Chan.
  12. One of my best “Lost in Translation” moments in Japan was an accidental duet with a local stranger to Elvis Presley’s “Always On My Mind”.
  13. I hate talking on the phone when I’m not mentally prepared, and if you’ve ever called unexpectedly, I’ve probably sent you to voicemail.
  14. I love Indian food so much.
  15. I dream of making a Bat Signal one day.
  16. ooohhh boy reallllly scraping the bottom of the barrel now and I’m not even done…Um…I lived in Philippines for three months.
  17. It freaks me out when you go to a coffee place ONCE and they call out your name instead of your ticket number. Bitch, pump your brakes, y u gotta write my name on that cup?
  18. I’m afraid of the dark.
  19. I cry when I’m angry.
  20. I miss my dog.
  21. Love cake, hate pie.
  22. Was kicked out of GATE (Gifted and talented education) after an hour because they found out they had the wrong kid.
  23. Favorite nuts: Pistachios, Cashews
  24. Least favorite nut: Macadamia
  25. R2-D2 > BB-8
  26. I watch youtube videos of other people’s dogs.
  27. Sad more than happy.
  28. Never watched Jumanji.
  29. Top-three worst movies ever: Dead and Breakfast, Pieces of April, Haiku Tunnel–bonus: Equilibrium.
  30. Sometimes I remember my age and then freak out.

Breakneck

Rubbing my hands to stay warm, I sit staring at the posters on the wall. My eyes wander in an attempt to gloss over the one with the diagram that labels all your lady parts by scientific names.
“Fallopian tube,” I say out loud with a shudder.

I settle on the cupboard and think of how weird it is that they store filaments, lube and kidney pans in that order in that one cupboard. Hospitals must throw some kinky parties.

I give up on trying to endure the wait without whipping out my cellphone. With a sigh, I begin punching in my passcode. The door knob suddenly turns and I nervously drop my phone like I was just busted surfing ebay for cute kitten sweaters while on the clock. Not like I do that, who does that? Do you do that? I don’t do that.

“Jacqueline?”

“Just Jackie is fine, doc.”

“So we’re here to discuss the results of your MRI.”

We proceed to look at some images. Where he barrels on to explain the anatomy of my neck. I feel like I’m sitting outside of myself watching myself try to keep it together in slow motion. I conjure up an image of my spine as a conduit cable encasing all these fibers called nerves.

“So right here,” he says as he circles three vertebrae at the base of my skull, “aaaaand right heeeere,” he says circling an odd indent near my throat, is the source of all your pain.

“The bad news is, that since the pain is in your bones, and not in your muscles, it’s hard to say if physical therapy would result in much relief. Basically the only way that you can realign your bones, is neurosurgery.”

“Oh…okay,” I say, pretty confident that I was pulling off looking like I was cool, so cool, so totally fucking cooool.

“…that would entail fusing certain parts of your spine together to bring back the natural curve and also to push out this indentation. That would fix your alignment, the caveat being that after that your neck will not have full mobility and you will be stiff.”

“You mean, while it’s healing?”

“I mean, like, always.”

“Oh. Okay…”

“So you know between that and chronic neck pain, if the pain is registering at 3 most days with a spike some days, I’d probably choose that over surgery.”

“Oh. Kay.”

I always found it odd when people used breakneck speed to describe something fast. In my mind I always imagined that people with broken necks surely could not move about with any sort of speed. I think back to the hot summer day when in my cramped apartment I mastered my first inversion after coming home from yoga, determined to do it. I nearly cried. It was a milestone for me, because earlier that year, I was so out of shape I could barely do a 10-second plank without the assistance of at least 5 curse words.

I thought of the first time I whipped my hair in a pole dance class and actually felt desirable. Like for the first time it was kind of okay to do that without laughing and saying that I was just copying something I’d seen on instagram.

I thought of the first time I ever took an MMA class, and how wonderful it felt to do something I never thought I’d ever do.

Then I thought about the months I spent in pain. Unable to breathe as my back would spasm. Tension headaches so bad I was afraid to sleep and never wake up. Shooting pains and numb fingertips. Pain killers and drowsiness. The pounds I worked really hard to keep off gradually pile up as every exercise session became a gamble, a compromise, of how much pain I’d be willing to be in afterwards for an hour of exertion. I used to be the girl who broke boards and smashed planks, and practiced sparring drills for hours and now I think if someone punched me, my neck would snap in half and I would literally die. Inversions are risky. Hair whips make me see stars. Trying to pass someone’s guard leaves me in agony for days.

I was the fat kid for most my life. We used to do laps at school to collect popsicle sticks–by the end we were supposed to have 16 total. I would always pray to be at least second to the last to finish. That if I were second to the last it wasn’t as bad as being the absolute worst. I was always the absolute worst. I lost every game of chicken on the playground, and whenever I fell people would pretend to fall over from an earthquake. I was the one member of the family who was highly encouraged to just stick to the salad at a buffet and by “highly encouraged” I mean that my father would promise to leave me at home if I didn’t do exactly that. I grew up placing limitations on myself until one day I started working to shatter those limitations. I was a late bloomer to discovering that I was capable of more than I thought.

It’s so hard to describe the feeling of loss after realizing I worked hard to climb to the peak only to find out that what awaits is just another valley. It’s not really me moving at breakneck speed, but everything I’ve worked for, enjoyed and looked forward to wooshing by like a single train in an empty station. A love of challenges replaced with fear. Gone in such breakneck speed, you question if it was ever really there.

Day 2: Cop out. Write 30 Facts About Yourself

This isn’t really Day 2’s writing prompt, it’s actually Day 18’s. But I’m really mentally exhausted. I still need to unpack a lot of baggage before I can tackle that blog, so I switched with Day 18: Write 30 facts about yourself. I’ll try my best not to fall asleep as I type.

  1. I was born in the Philippines came to Guam when I was two
  2. I couldn’t speak english that well, so my dad trained me with flash cards and Disney books on tape.
  3. I am so sleepy right now. I’ve already fallen asleep countless times by this point.
  4. I lived in Japan for 3 years, I fear I’m forgetting how to speak
  5. I don’t like hot ramen.
  6. I love soba.
  7. I can’t swim
  8. I like old video games.
  9. I’m finding this list very challenging.
  10. One of my favorite books is “I Am Jackie Chan”, Jackie Chan’s biography.

Staying awake is so impossible right now, I’ll write double for tomorrow!!

30-day Writing Challenge, Day 1

2017 came and went and left behind a ton of shit to clean up. It’s comforting to shift gears along with a symbolic manifestation of a new start, so all of you “new year new me” haters, just take several seats and stop ruining hope for other people. That being said, let’s just admit for a hot minute that the towering expectations of making 2018 your bitch is actually quite terrifying once you sit down and try to attack that goal. It’s pretty much trying to find Mordor hobbit-style, sans GPS. Today, I spent the better part of the day scouring Indeed and Zip Recruiter becoming reacquainted with all of my shortcomings as well as turning up the flames on that pot of fear that I’ll never ever be able to work to or be valued for my full potential. The full-on panic boils over and I’m left without a flame to stoke. “New Me” isn’t about the mistaken belief that the start of the new year gives us all an unseen level up that’s gonna magically help us turn our challenges into tea-baggable corpses. We’re not stupid. We know all of our old shit follows us into the new year. It’s just an acknowledgement that we’ll show up to the fight even when the odds are against us.

I want to write more this year, so I’ve decided to do a 30-day writing challenge. The first writing prompt is “10 things that make me really happy”. It looks really easy, but it’s not. The overarching theme of my life at the moment is despair tinged with equal parts indifference and rage (I didn’t even know that was possible, but hey, you learn something new every day, eh?). The things that make me happy are the tiny things. The trivial things. The surface things. Things that are safe to feel happy about because the bigger things are frustratingly out of reach and thinking about them brings a sadness that makes the day harder to get through. I pick ten things a day, throw them out, and start again. If I see a cute ass dog walking down the street, that’s easily three items off this list: 1. Fluffy tail 2. Boopable nose 3. Goofy dog smile. I didn’t see any dogs today, so I’m thankful for these ten things experienced in chronological order:

  1. Waking up to a message from my boyfriend and the chance to speak to him before he went to sleep, which is rare. Long distance is tough, having hope for the future is tougher. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  2. Sore calves, which means that forcing myself to do yoga at home yesterday did my body some good.
  3. Extremely fast and efficient poop 🙂
  4. People who smile at you or say thank you when you hold the door open for them.
  5. The tiny bit of sun peeking out from behind the oppressive clouds.
  6. Time to write this blog and honor the challenge I put upon myself.
  7. People who understand and tolerate all the stupid puns I make.
  8. My mother making lunch.
  9. The talented artists on instagram who share their work, discuss their process and inspire others to do and be better–to add to that…days when seeing good work motivates me as opposed to making me want to give up because I will never be a fraction as good as the people I admire.

I know these things are boring. Admittedly not a great way to start a monthlong writing exercise, but having gone through a large amount of shit in a short amount of time, I kind of learned to believe in the power of the little things. During some really rough times, I would come home after a long day and collapse on the floor and cry for hours. You know what got me through those days? Fucking “Community”. Instead of coming home and crying I’d binge watch Community–I started eating again–because I’d make dinner to eat while watching. Before that, I’d cry so hard that I’d gag every time I tried to eat. I’d dry heave even after I spit the food out. It felt like my body was trying to kill itself, and I felt like I deserved it. Community got me to laugh long enough to put nourishment back in my body. So, yeah–a good tv show, a song that makes you feel infinite while sitting in traffic, gifs of cute animals, the rare instance when your hot coffee doesn’t actually singe every single one of your ten thousand taste buds–go ahead and be unapologetic about the joy that these bring you. Just remember to try to share that joy with other people because otherwise, what’s the point?

Which brings me to number 10: Thank you if you’re still here floating along this stream of consciousness.

Hopefully in time these will shape up into entries actually worth reading.

 

Happy New Year, homies!

Here, you hold this.

I haven’t written in a long time.

So much has happened, and so much has stayed–frustratingly–the same.

I had so much happening that every time I tried to sit down and write, I would end up just staring at the blinking cursor asking it what it wanted from me.

In the most condensed way possible, this is what has happened since I last wrote.

I decided not to renew my contract in Japan. I made a farewell speech to my school and cried a lot more than I thought I would.

Not knowing what to do, I took very seriously a job offer to work in a pastry department of a Japanese hotel. I took that as a nudge from the universe that I should go on and take that pastry class that I have been wanting to take for three years in the Philippines.

I moved to the Philippines for three months to study an accelerated course in pastry. The experience was miserable for many reasons not having to do with baking.

On the eve of completion of the pastry arts program, I was informed that the job in Japan was no longer available because the person who was resigning had decided to stay.

Living in the Philippines as well as the month I took to prepare in Japan prior to leaving n addition to moving costs ate into my savings, and I found myself not knowing what to do. I didn’t want to go back to Guam, I couldn’t go back to Japan, and as much as my heart wanted to stay in the Philippines, I knew that it would be a while before I could be able to make a living there without an immediate job.

So I packed up and I went to live with my family in California.

I have lived alone for a long time. My family moved one by one to California while I chose to stay on Guam, and so it is my first time to live in Mainland US.

I tried to get a job doing graphic design, but my lack of experience combined with a three year gap in a design field (I was teaching English in Japan) made it hard to meet even the minimum requirements for entry level work.

I cried. A lot.

I got a job a few weeks ago as a Kitchen 1 staff at a lovely cafe. My main duties are working the line and preparing things for baking.

I live with my parents and it is challenging as well as a blow to the ego.

I still have no idea what the fuck I’m supposed to be doing with my life.

 

I guess in the coming months I’m going to write about those experiences in that chronological order.