When I was in first year college, a computer science major told me that my name spelled backward in Greek meant disaster, well sort of. That’s how I remember it. He said the word “disaresta” but now looking back he must have mentioned something about it being an attack on a console game. Disaresta was one of the most devastating skill a player had available.
I can feel that now. It’s my last night in my hometown and I managed to break the shower knob resulting in an avalanche of water spraying all over me. I figured I had managed to do what I meant to do in my hometown. Which was basically:
1) to get wasted drunk in the company of trusted friends
2) to write
(Of course there were other things, like visiting dead people and people who were dead to me. . .)
In hindsight, my life wasn’t much of a disaster compared to all the drama I see on Facebook. If you ever follow Filipino soap operas, you could liken other people’s lives to Ika-6 na Utos. Mine was pretty squeaky clean in comparison to most. Still, theirs was not the standard.
My mother asked me how the hometown was. I answered they had babies, SSS cards (social security) and Pag-ibig Loyalty Cards (housing) which only equaled to what I thought meant: they were leading steady, stable, settled lives. Meanwhile most of my worries were concentrated on how many units I could get on my last year of university and … thesis.
Cdo had me thinking about where to settle down and what to do. Was I supposed to follow the status quo? Ha! I’ve known this answer since. It’s just not me. Cdo represents the ideal, the “this could have been us” but I chose what I chose.
How nice would it be to have settled in a quieter city where you have a home, a car, and social capital and used this all to your advantage. How convenient would it be to be the big fish in the small pond.
But I’m not done raising hell yet. I’m still about to get started. Where I am now is the result of carefully planned decisions. It might not look like much to exes who whip out their Pag-ibig Loyalty Cards while telling you their pay is good, and that you should invest in stocks etc. etc. but I know exactly where I’m going and what I’m doing (failed to tell them I’ve partially got my adult thing covered even if it doesn’t look like it but what’s the use #smh.)
So yah, coming home was a breath of fresh air but it was also a reminder of why I chose to leave, much like how Eilis felt when she returned to Ireland (Brooklyn, 2015)
Having been immersed in a different reality, coming back to Cdo reminded me of many things. The positive ones being that your childhood friends will always remain your friends- like the time we spent dodging cockroaches while looking for our best friend’s grave, or how we screamed while riding creepy carnival rides, or the nights we sped through the city at 3 am, dropping by just to say hi to whoever we could find. It also feels great not having to explain yourself, your quirks, your paglalambing that is often mistaken as “landi” by new acquaintances. (sweetness often mistaken as flirtatiousness.)
But it also reminded me of the not so spectacular ones like- family names, connections, and traditions that are so strong in a small city that one sometimes forgets what’s essential to them may not be the same for you.
I don’t need to be doing what everyone’s doing, and my dreams are different from most. Weight gain, titles and others’ definition of success don’t really matter as long as I’m happy. And I actually am. Also, even if your friends are in the medical field, that doesn’t necessarily make them any smarter when it comes to sex ed (really just had to put that out there.)
I keep having the same realization every now and then- guess it’s a struggle to remain focused when everyone’s banging on your door trying to stuff their own idea of “maturity” into your head.
So onwards I go, with my own little lifeplans plus SM Advantage cards, Mercury Drug Suki cards, and National Bookstore Cards!
Oh… need to get that Philhealth plan asap. lol.