I read several articles in the past days since I stopped, albeit temporarily, writing and my thoughts are jumbled, my stomach churns at the idea that I might be, probably, or sometimes most definitely, at least that’s what I think, wasting my life.
Two weeks ago today, I quit smoking. I wear a nicotine patch that gives me vivid dreams in the night. The first night, I had a nightmare and I couldn’t sleep properly. I am better now. I even had a dream where I laughed out loud and actually laughed out loud that my best friend next to me asked in my half-awake, half-asleep state, “What’s so funny?”
In my vivid dreams, I dream of HOME a lot. Los Angeles will always be second home to me. My home will always be Bacolod, where I grew up and where most of my family and friends are. I dreamt of visiting them and we had a big reunion, my friends and I.
I still see their faces on social media although admittedly, I rarely see it now because I don’t open my Facebook account at all. I haven’t hung out with most of them for 13 years.
I left Bacolod when I was only 17. I am now 30 years old. I haven’t lived or celebrated my 20s with these people and it’s always nice to see them in my dreams. The funny part is, I forget their voices. I don’t even know how they sound now. I know how they look but what would a lengthy conversation with them might be? I know there’d be tons and tons of laughter. I know there’d be occasions when we’d cry and talk about life and what has come out of us after high school. Sadly, it’s all but a dream.
I miss my old self. The one that spent hours and hours driving around town going nowhere or anywhere that has great food, great company, great conversations. I miss my spontaneous self. The one that everyone asks, “Where to, now?” I say a destination and everyone says, “Perfect. Let’s go.” It was always perfect. It was always fun.
At 30, stuck in a 9 to 5 job, oceans apart from perfection and fun, I cling onto anything that’s remotely positive. I don’t know most days where this life is going to lead me but I keep hanging on because it seems like the right thing to do. What my heart says sometimes is not what my mind wants.
I have obligations now. I grew up in a “big city” for my country. A big city that technically is such a small place where everyone knows everyone’s whereabouts. This was long before Facebook or Twitter. You just know where everyone goes at a certain day because everyone ends up there, anyway. It’s boring when you’re in it but when you’re away from it, you miss it. Why must life be so complicated, huh?
I actually live in a big city now. A city famous for its name and its residents. This is where dreams are made of, if you want to pursue a showbiz career. This is where dreams are crushed, if you want to pursue a showbiz career. It’s normal to work in an office building next to a Disney studio with teenage actors and production people my age who take over our parking spots. It’s normal to run into Mario Lopez while having a nice meal at a trendy restaurant or to run into Mario Lopez again when you go to church. It’s normal to see Star Wagons vans everywhere and to consider “filming” as part of any ordinary day. I live in a city that wows unknown tourists and people I know alike who have never set foot in it. I, on the other hand, see it as the place that gave me the chance to be independent. It taught me patience. It taught me determination. It taught me resilience. What it slowly takes away are kindness, dreams, and contentment.
Los Angeles or Southern California, in general will always look beautiful in photographs because we rarely see rain so there’s so much sunlight to play around with. It is a beautiful place, no question. It can also be harsh and it can be, wait for it…stressful.
I guess that’s why my first home always haunts me in my dreams because it knows what my heart needs even though in my consciousness, it’s not what I think I want. It’s the serenity and the tight-knit relationships, of knowing that there’s always someone to call at any given moment even when things get busy because one way or the other, someone else is not doing the same thing you’re doing at the same time therefore it’s accessible.
I see my friends who are also based in Los Angeles once in every 6 months and that’s after weeks of planning and scheduling and making sure everyone shows up. I must admit, I don’t show up most of the time because I get busy. I live a couple of miles away from my parents and I don’t even visit them often. Whenever I go and meet my friends, I feel great because the familiarity sets in and is as automatic as riding a bike after a long time.
When I get the opportunity to taste a little bit of home, I don’t show up. When it’s not in front of me, I miss it and my subconscious reminds me of it by showing me snippets of what I left.
I get depressed. I feel a suppressed feeling of sadness that leads to nowhere. I feel lost. I numb myself and divert my attention by doing more work or reading useless articles online or just be in bed and not do anything productive.
I’m not going to end this post with a redemption line because there isn’t one. I’m still part of a vicious cycle that I know only ends up hurting one person…me.
Maybe, one day, I wake up and everything’s going to be okay.
I wish that day comes sooner than later.
God, help me.