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Mar. 10th, 2017 | 03:32 pm

"Didn't you use to have bigger hair?" Jessica asked me yesterday. We were in our office building's rooftop parking lot, shooting her and Pepe for a promotional article on their soon-to-premiere travel show. I was slightly amused that she remembered how my hair looked like. "Yes! My hair is thinning! I'm turning thirty!" I yelled back. It's a fact that I've just gotten accustomed to, that my body is aging and there are things about it that will soon fade into the pastel years of my youth. Much of our conversation after were about the things that we enjoy now that we're no longer young. "Sleeping is my favorite," Jessica said. All I could say in response was "Same. It's my new fave."

I miss my fluffy hair. It's still fluffy but it's just not the way it used to. It may be my now conventional haircut (I've stopped going to fancy barbershops out of convenience because the mall is just an easier place to go to), or because I don't ask my barbers to copy models' hair anymore (my go to actually was Justin Timberlake's rad do on the cover of T). But I've noticed that my hair is growing slower than it used to be.

I know, it's a minor complaint on the grand scheme of things. But part of my personality was hinged on my hair for some reason. And for someone to notice how part of that is gone kind of stings.

I've noticed myself unravel slowly over the course of a few months, not only physically, but also in terms of how I deal with situations. These days, my default setting is only resigned indifference. My refusal to succumb into anxiety preludes much of how I'll react to something: my constant lateness, my still nonexistent time management, too much spending on nothing, escapism, and just all-around not giving a fuck.

I've told myself that I'd improve on some facets of my life this year. I signed up on a new gym. I started doing yoga and cardio — two things that my life is slowly revolving around to but I never get better in any of them — and I'm going out more, surrounded by a new set of friends. But there's always a constant push and pull of folding into myself or spending time in the company of people I don't know if I'll be friends with six months from now. Even my relationship is suffering. Over time, I'm getting comofortable in the time I'm spending alone. I take pleasure in it. Because when I'm alone, there's no one there to hurt me but me.

Is all this because I'm turning thirty soon? Or is it because my life is just one big mess and things are really getting out of hand.

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Jul. 6th, 2016 | 01:43 am
music: Umaapaw - Ang Bandang Shirley

Saturday night, quasi-Attraction Reaction at Route 196 (Shirley released their new merch plus a long set!). I missed hearing my favorite songs live and I haven't been going to Route so I decided to go (also Kathy said she'd give me free merch!) It was crowded inside and some of my friends were just outside so I was shuffling to and fro, running inside when they're playing a familiar song (Hearing "Umaapaw" live, for the first time, is quite something).

After their set Selena (who still lives here!), Carina, Deus (hi!), and talked a bit about the generations of Shirley fans. There was Deus' batch, the first ones, then Carina's, then us Tumblr kids — they really called us that — and the present ones who actually formed a fan club! Almost every time I go to route, one conversation always steers toward the issue of us growing older. We used to be the kids bodyslamming infront of the stage to "Patintero/Habulan/Larong Kalye," now we're the weary adults chilling outside and worrying about not getting a hangover when we wake up the next day. Doing a French exit isn't as hard as it used to. But now that I think about it, I have a lot of happy memories at Route 196. It was always rowdy — that feeling when you're surrounded by a lot of friends. Now it's more calm and casual. I guess this is what happens when you force yourself to grow up.

My new job ("editor-in-chief" but not really) kind of requires me to attend a few parties every now and then and I still enjoy them. I partied hard last Friday night and woke up to a few videos of me dancing like crazy. I needed some hard liquor and the DJs were playing really good songs. Who am I to refuse the call of the dancefloor? But sometimes I hate socializing and prefers cocooning in Paulo's room playing video games and watching reruns of our favorite shows on Netflix.

I'm hardly an adult. I always want to tell people in the office that they hired a twelve year old to be in charge. Really, I think that's my mental age: I like video games, junk food, and dissolve into tears when faced with any problem. I like to slump and whine whenever I can't figure anything out. But I get by at the end of the day. It actually seems like I did a job well done but I'm just scraping by.

LJ is for feelings, people always say. "It's like shouting into the void," Deus said. I feel like it's my little corner of the world, where I can feel whatever I want to feel. I'm always half-sad when I go here, lost in a cloud of nostalgia — longing for things past and things that never will be.

I'm also afraid that I've pushed a lot of people away. Unconsciously, I guess because you're forced to prioritize people. I'm glad that I got to hang with friends in La Union because we enforced one weekend together (But oh what fun! We also went to Taiwan last March!). My other gay pack I hardly see these days. We're all too busy in our little lives. I actually saw some of them last Friday night but I kept coming back to the friends I hang out with now. And I feel bad. I feel like a terrible friend. I hate the akward silences. But friends are supposed to not care about awkward silences.

I'm gonna try to write here more. Or at least try to write more in general. I have a bunch of notebooks lying around but I always feel pressured that I should have to write something composed and significant whenever I try to start one. That's not what journals are for anyway.

Anyway, how are you friend?

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Body Talk, Part 1

Jan. 5th, 2015 | 04:33 am
mood: Optimistic
music: September - St. Lucia

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 4.42.52 AM

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions but I know shit gets real when I'm saving .jpegs of exercises on my laptop. The "I'm gonna hit the gym this year and be serious about it" has got to be the worst phase someone can go through after puberty (I think Coco Quizon tweeted something like this January last year). It's a tough form of existential crisis because it primarily deals with your physical appearance—the best commodity these days, what with our image-obsessed culture; see: selfies—and your will to actually do something. With my [perhaps eternal] undernourished school boy frame, this 'crisis' pops up every now and then. I feel like I'm being judged as a homosexual who isn't subscribing to the gym-rat-phase that the current crop of homosexuals are currently in. It's not just I'm averse to trends; the thought of me working out inside a gym, with all the plates and barbells and all those sculpted bodies constantly reminding me of my own physical failures, frightens me. Is this how women feel when they're faced with blown-up images of how they should look like?

Throughout last year, there have been a number of my friends who signed up for gym memberships; an act that I treated like some light form of betrayal. "I thought we were going to die unhealthy together??" Soon, they were talking about protein supplements, eating healthy, and worse, waking up early in the morning to work out. Peer pressured, I asked a trainer friend where I should try CrossFit. One gym was close to where I worked but when he told me the price tag for a membership, I knew there was no way I'd sign up for a class.

I know some of you have lost weight, got healthy, and can attest to the wonders of fitness but the more I realize I should workout (e.g. I am easily out of breath when I climb several flights of stairs even though I don't smoke anymore, I have no upper body strength to speak of, and I've developed some sort of a cute paunch—it's there, like a mini-muffin top, but it's kind of adorable), the less I think of actually doing anything remotely 'active'. I used to tell people that taking the MRT is an exercise in itself but these days, I'd rather just spend most of my money on cab fare than line-up for those fucking death traps.

Maybe all I'm looking for is a less-expensive, non-judgmental place to workout in. Or that I'm not that driven to do so since I'm not single anyway. Whatever the reason is, I feel like I'm getting closer to signing up for a gym membership this year (*shudders*). I've even agreed to a friend's offer to take me in as a guest in the gym he goes to just so I can try it out (and no, I won't be there to check out guys). I think I'm slowly coming to realize that committing yourself to a workout regimen is some sign of maturity; that you're locking yourself into a rigorous 'routine' that should be followed through because in the end it's for your own good.

Or, whatever, I should just stop watching porn with a lot of hot guys in them. Maybe I'll finally gain a decent body image.

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Piled High

Dec. 15th, 2014 | 06:33 am
music: Shot at the Night - The Killers


Pardon the mess, it's week two of this newly vacant room in Paulo's apartment and we still haven't gotten around cleaning it. In order to minimize the clutter of the books and magazines eating most of Paulo's room, we decided to make the bigger room of the house into a guest bedroom/library/closet. We'll keep his room as our sleeping space since that's the quieter area. I never liked sleeping in huge bedrooms anyway.

I mostly go here to read—which is quite rare nowadays—and write. My cat, Thomas Pikitty (cute, I know), sometimes comes in here and keeps me company. Right now he's making himself home in the a/c-less a/c slot, which accounts for the mosquitos festering me whenever I'm here at night—one of the reasons I don't like spending a lot of time here. I haven't gotten used to the room, I still needs a lot of work and the lone single bed providing comfort doesn't quite cut it. But it does give me space to breathe in and write. Not all of us have the luxury to have such thing, we have to make do with whatever we're given. For different folks, it's the coffee shop, the bathoom, or a comfortable couch. As for me, it's wherever inspiration strikes until I get enough momentum to get the job done.

I haven't really been writing as much as I want to and I'm planning to make this LiveJournal a decompression space. Maybe it'll get me back on the groove. I've been desperately trying to get back in the business of writing and so far I still lack the willpower to do it. Most nights, when I have the free time to actually do stuff, I just sleep or watch episodes of Bob's Burgers. Sad, I know. It's a tired routine but I keep doing it since after work I'm exhausted to do anything else.

Reading, too, is something I haven't been able to keep up with. I buy one magazine after another but all I do is look at the layout, read the occasional interesting article, and that's it. I have my Pocket app for my online longform reading though but I still want to get back to reading books. The last book I read was Eric Gamalinda's magnificent but depressing The Descartes Highlands (my 'review' can be read in this month's Rogue). Buying beautifully designed books help boost my interest in reading, and reading about reading definitely piques my interest but I have yet to act upon all of this.

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Stop the World Away

Jul. 16th, 2014 | 04:15 am
music: Love pt. 2 - Bright Light Bright Light

I don't want my LJ to be just about Claren. Most of the stuff I've posted here for the past year has been about him. Maybe because LJ was one of the links that we had, even though we never met on LJ (we're friends here though). I was checking my old Yahoo e-mail since it's the one I'm using for this account and I didn't expect I'd stumble on a notification email of one of his last tweets to me. My heart sank. Just like when Jade asked, a few weeks back while we were talking about him in passing (pun not intended), "Nag-thirty pa ba si Claren?"

Just that seemingly innocuous question about his age is enough to let a dam break loose. He didn't even turn thirty. I keep thinking he's my age. But before we'd always tease him about being the oldest in the group.

He would have been thirty this year.

And it's gonna be a year since he's been gone. Just a few more weeks and we'll get to revisit that wound. It's still open. It's started healing but I just keep on peeling the skin back.

That way, I feel that he's still here.

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The City and The Storm

Jul. 16th, 2014 | 04:06 am
music: Collide - Howie Day

I like being in the city when there's a storm. From our 20th-floor view, you can see the city getting washed up. I'm kind of fascinated by it; that I can see the storm pass by the city, strong gusts of wind and all. Right now, it's almost four in the morning and we've been getting reports of how hard the storm has been hitting parts of Luzon. Around Manila, there's been power outages and the wind's picking up quite a bit. "Crazy, you can hear the wind howl outside," read one of the many posts around Twitter. Work has been cancelled (bummer, I have a section to close) and we're all drifting in this haze of calm as the storm gears up to force its way in. Our laptops and phones are plugged in, anticipating the power to go out any minute now but thankfully, it hasn't yet. I should be working because there's a big chance we'll all go offline anytime today but I just want to watch the storm make its way into the city. I like to pretend that it washes me down, too. 

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What I hope I will wake up to today

Dec. 2nd, 2013 | 04:07 am

The only greeting I will ever need. I miss you so much, Claren.


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Things we lost in the fire

Dec. 1st, 2013 | 05:47 am

5:24am, the eve of my 26th birthday

-These past few months, I finally landed on my dream job of sorts: working for my favorite magazine. It has its moments and its failings (money-wise, particularly) but I love it and it keeps me going (and stressed, frantic, paranoid, etc.).

-Most of these days I'm either worked up about work or lethargic. It helps my indifference swell, which I have been told is one of my defining characteristics. I wanted to argue that I'm actually not. That I'm loving, caring, thoughtful, and all that fluffy shit. But all I said was 'Yeah, maybe I am.'

-I don't even have time to properly read these days and I'm worried that it's affecting my writing. Magazines and books are bought then piled up at a corner. I've started a couple of books but abandoned them due to work. I never dare pick-up a book after work because it will most probably put me to sleep no matter how engrossing it is.

-I sound like I work 24/7 but I really don't. It's just the confluence of things that I have to do at any given day. I read this bit (because I didn't finish the entire thing—it was an infographic) in The Atlantic about how Americans are overworked because they have to juggle all the personal responsibilities outside of work. Sometimes I think I should just be alone: no relationships or anything so I could focus on what I'm doing but I really don't relish going all through this shit alone.

-What really bugs me the most is how indifferent I am to films these days. Festival after festival I'm like 'Fuck, who cares?' and it's scary how I'm like this now whereas just a year ago I was a rah-rah fanboy of Philippine Cinema and all things film.

-But hey, I killed our last cinema issue. I was prepared to leave after closing that issue. But that's a coward's way out.

-After Claren's death, I've started to have a vague idea of what constitutes a 'friendship'. Most people are shit. So keep the good ones close to you.

-We're all still not over Claren.

-It's still surreal. One time, I was in Greenbelt returning pullouts and I had this wish that I'd bump into Claren, like the past three months have been one big lie, and we'd just catch up on each other like nothing happened.

-The saddest part about that was when I realized it was NEVER going to happen. EVER.

-I'm gonna be 26 in less than 24 hours.

-Fuck me.

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What Isn't There

Sep. 4th, 2013 | 02:16 am
music: Eighties Fan - Camera Obscura

It's in the small hours that I feel your absence. It's the only time we get to talk anyway. You'd pop up on my inbox, say hi, and I'd eagerly reply because I miss you all the time. After we talk, there's always the certainty that we'd see each other again, randomly perhaps. We'd both be in Greenbelt, unplanned, and we'd catch each other before work came calling. We'd walk around, talk, gossip (the best thing we ever did) and then say goodbye. I never even realized that the last time we met would be the last. Did we even hug? I don't remember.

My last message to you was me checking up on you.

It still remains unread. Maybe it will stay that way forever.

I still get angry sometimes. Because you're gone. Because you're not here.

Day takes you away, I get swallowed up by work, just like always. But the night comes, the world settles and I'm finally alone with my thoughts. I keep hoping you'd be there, we'd talk about some pop song, how work continues to be a bitch, how your plan to be an old maid is going.

I still miss you, badly. I hope you're happy out there.


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The earth is not a cold dead place to live

Aug. 18th, 2013 | 04:18 pm

It's just been almost a week and I think things will never be the same now that Claren's gone. This is the first time I will ever bring myself to write about his death and I really don't know what to say. I've cried every night since he died. His wake, brief as it was, afforded us to grieve and somehow, realign ourselves with the things we've hold dear. That morning after he died was the first time I saw his mom, who told me I was always the first name she saw on Claren's Facebook posts, or his dad. It was the first time I realized we really weren't his only close friends and that there are a lot of things that we didn't do with him. It was the first time I realized he's touched a lot of people. It was the last time the five of us will be there and all we had to look back at that moment is the photo of the four of us huddled over his coffin, the last time we'll ever see him again.

After the funeral, I was feeling better. Seeing his room, the house he lived in. I was surprised I didn't breakdown in tears (maybe I was being polite because his mom and brother was there). It reminded me there were a lot of things I didn't know about him, that three years of friendship is too short for anything.

The past few days, I buried myself in work and spent time with our closest friends. It was still fun and all but it's never really the same. His absence, a palpable void, permanent. I kept wishing he'd just suddenly appear. Like the past six days has just been a test run to see how we'd react to the loss of one of our closest friends. But it wasn't.

Of all the people I know, Claren was one of my friends I'd never want to lose. I actually told him that, at a time in my life when I was shutting myself away from everyone, save for a few people I really trust. I never thought he'd be the first to go. And I kind of hate him for it. I've never known what losing someone really feels until Claren died. And no matter how much bargaining I'll do, it will never go away.

Death is everywhere. We read about it, we watch movies about it, we listen to songs about it just to prepare ourselves for that eventual moment when we lose somebody we really care for. But all that death in pop culture bullshit will never ever prepare you for that. Never.

We've a long way to go, Claren. We were supposed to do a lot of things. But I guess the universe has a bigger plan for us.


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