That’s right. 31. The last numbers on a calendar. If you were in the same predicament as me, people would be pushing you to 1.) find a guy 2.) get married and 3.) have kids, because your body is a ticking time bomb and your ovaries are going to malfunction if you let any moment pass by. Well, that would be my case, if people doesn’t see me as someone younger than I really am (my closest aunts and uncles call my younger brother my kuya for reasons he won’t like). This is when I say, Thank God, I am petite.
But let me tell you, no. I’m not going to hide under that guise. I am 31. I’ve lived past three decades on this earth, and I’m grateful for it.
My Year of 30s
2016 has been extra special. Probably because 2015 was a wreck. I really don’t know. I think God throws something good to balance out the bad. It’s always been that way. We’re all riding a roller coaster, and when we head up, we head down afterwards. The only enlightening fact is that the ride moves forward. We don’t stay where we were.
I guess all that life requires us is to keep on keeping on.
This year, I got back to making art. I’ve never been the traditional type; I am not patient and I always foresee myself making mistakes. Other than that, I’m clumsy. So drawing digitally is my best alternative and really, I felt at home with it. I’ve drawn a lot of things this 2016 more than the last 3 years combined. And the best part? I get to share it with you.
Caris Creates Things is my baby. It was a random idea and I jumped into it. I launched it this May and I’m so glad my little page has grown, compared to my previous one. And now, a dream has started. I want my own studio; a little space where I can work and feature a gallery. I’ve made friends with many amazing artists online, and I am interesting in working at anthropologies and collaborations ever since 1001 Knights has been successfully funded. The money is not the purpose. I want to be a voice that encourages and inspires through my art and words.
Speaking of which, I’ve caught glimpse of my piece on the draft:
If there’s one accomplishment I’m proud of this year, it’s getting my business on the right track. Talk about Lady Boss. It wasn’t easy, and I knew it beforehand, but I was willing, and I was ready. It took me so many weeks and so many realizations before the struggle ended, and when I paid my first tax, I was so proud of myself. I think I smiled at God that day and I told Him, “We’re going to do this, You and me. We’re going to make it.” I had no doubt we can.
There were also weddings this year, two of them are my cousins. I’m proud to be part of Ate Kaye’s entourage. Her love story with Billy came in like a whirlwind, but I think people are wiser when older. This is the time when we already know what we want, and we’re bent on getting in. And as for her, she wanted a husband who would love her and provide for her and be her best friend. And that’s what she found. Maybe, someday, I’d know what I want and I will find him too. For now, I’m just going to finish what I started.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Saltfolk. My novel. I’ve been working on this since February, and it has undergone several drafts before–oh, wait. Who am I kidding? I’m still drafting another version now. Although this one is closer to my heart. Maybe it’s the name? The characters? The plot getting clearer? Maybe all of it. Maybe you should just wait until it’s out, because I tell you, this is all I’m about now.
In my opinion, I think I have been a good human this year. I want to put this on record: I’ve probably met more people in 2016 than the rest of the 5 previous years combined. I started not to be afraid. Upon reaching my 30s, I’ve obtained an inner gravity that keeps me steady. It tells me who I am. That I am old and I am young and that I am capable of doing shit just as much as ignoring one. Took a long time coming. But gaining this much confidence in my identity was worth the wait. I’m so happy to be me.
Three Things. Maybe Four.
I have also done a few things I have never done before. One of them: breakfast. Yep. I just learned that a writer could not write properly with a hungry stomach. I’ve started eating healthier staples because I am such a creature of habit. Second: walking the dog. Chiba was left alone when my aunt took the other dog. And, in order for this fluffy Spitz not to feel lonely, I take him out every morning. He’s starting to be demanding about it, really. Third, and only recently: blow-dry my hair before I sleep. I just had a haircut, you see. A haircut that I’ve been waiting to have, because I’d be donating the rest of my thick, virgin locks to Cuts Against Cancer to be used as a wig. The senior stylist, a very motherly persona, had fun accommodating me. I now have this brown bob and I have to retain its chic shape every single day. Who says short hair isn’t high maintenance?
Let me tell you how proud I am of this picture. 11 inches, folks. Whoever gets this, or if you ever get this, I’m rooting for you. I’ve shared you a part of myself. Literally. And I’m willing to do it again. Keep on fighting. Keep on living.
Here’s a reminder, xoxo death
2016 wasn’t all good. It made itself felt in the whole world. Let’s not talk about politics and wars and crimes and discrimination. On a personal level, 2016 has taken a handful of people dear to us. Death came without a warning, and here we are, heartbroken, suddenly paralyzed by the loss. If there’s one beautiful thing about death, it is when families come together and hold hands, silently telling fear and despair and darkness that “We’re going to survive. We’re not alone.” That’s what we did.
I have realized life is a frail, fleeting thing. Everything ends in one swooping, faster than one can recover. And so, I have decided to live life alive. To make the best of it. To earn all the love and happiness and peace and kindness. And to give back the same. To burn bright before the final blow.
And to you, whoever you are, whatever your name is, wherever corner of the world you’re reading this blog from, I tell you. Live. Keep on living. Don’t look at it as a chore. Break down your walls. Scream. Be heard. Then shine. Because there’s a big part of the world still under the shadows of shame. But there’s gold in each one of us, and I hope you find it and let it out for others to see.
31 years. Damn. Not every one gets to live three decades in full joy. With a complete family. With a handful of people who loved her and new friends who considered her pretty something. It took me several mountains before finally stepping on a solid ground upon hitting my big 3. Here I am, reveling at the sight of my journey, looking back with full eyes and muttering, I have no regrets.
So, for a roundup
I have no husband (no boyfriend even), no kid, no house of my own, no professional status. But I also have a family who loves me enough, a handful of dirty, makulit kids whom I minister to, money to saved up to buy my dream studio, 50,000+ words in my novel, and have been featured numerous times this 2016. Booyah.