There will only be a few rare occasions where I get to write a title like that. No kidding. Maybe this is the only time I could write that. Who knows? In the next decade, I might not be blogging anymore. Probably in a farm, harvesting vegetable crops. Or practicing how to cook. I don’t know. Because if there’s anything the 2010s taught me, it’s that nothing is ever set in stone. Life is in a constant state of impermanence.
This decade started off with me finding light in my useless fingers, thinking that there’s hope for me after I’ve shunned away all the traditional norms a human girl has to go through life. I did it. I jumped off the straight line and wrote curves and tangled scribbles instead. And boy,they were right. It was easier to reach Point A to Point B with a straight line. The blob of inky paths made the map harder to follow.
Then, things happened. And the lines I thought were going nowhere got to somewhere.
2010. I wasn’t good at anything except for writing. Heck, I wasn’t even great at it, but I discovered there was money in words, especially if I wrote for somebody else. So, I did. I got my first bunch of dollars and told Inang all about it. And then, on August, my Inang died.
2012. I’ve had it. My epiphany. Glorious, intimate hours of keeping awake at dawn, promising God I’d give Him the end and the beginning of a day. I committed to being faithful and I had a glimpse of what it feels like: praying for another, raising my hands in the air, in the dark, declaring for blessings. Turning away from the boulders that fettered me, and I started feeling lighter, brighter. I had hoped it would go on forever.
Noteworthy mention: I wrote Miracle a Day + You are Everything to Me this year, both of them scribbled at the back of my journal. Of course, I wrote many other songs after those.
2013. A laptop, a piano and a camera, a.k.a. the things I used to write at the back of my journal as part of my wishlist. I could buy them. And I could buy for others’, too, but I couldn’t buy life. Life was taken from my aunt who succumbed to cancer. And, after this year, a few more people close to me fought against it.
2014. Say hello to Hellocaris.com! Oh, sure, the name sounds unoriginal and there’s probably a lot of URLs similar to it, but it’s the name that stuck to me, so here we are. Went to document a mission trip, ended up having two seaside holidays, wrote a Tagalog song for a two-district choir, and had my name stamped on as features writer for a Thai luxury magazine which was just incredible.
2015. The lowest I have ever felt in my life, possibly because I was saying goodbye to a comfort zone and now, I was supposed to be strong on my own. My dog died just before our Amsterdam trip. Nanay’s health was failing, but the people around us said that we can make it back home and see her alive. We didn’t. She died in the middle of our trip. Everything was different when we came back home. For one, we won’t be going to our home church anymore. My dad began his new post-retirement journey as a part-time pastor.
2016. When I first saw him sing on Chaosmyth, I told myself I wanted to hear ONE OK ROCK’s Taka sing. Live. And I did. January this year, I dragged my brother to watch their concert with me. When Ryota appeared on the stage in his usual fashion, and by that I meant half-naked, I squealed. I started drawing again. One of them got into a magazine. I started writing stories.
2017. No, it wasn’t easy. You don’t just imagine things from your teenage WIP, the one you only knew the beginning and the ending, and call it a story. I guess what really happened this year was plot development. And by the end of the year, I realized the plot wasn’t as developed as I wanted it to be. First heard of DVPit and was very foolish to pitch. Down the rabbit hole of querying.
2018. It’s a long way down. It’s dark and there was no light to guide me. Or maybe there was, but it was just so faint, and my eyes were so preoccupied with my bright illusions that I didn’t get to see it. I trudged on with my muddy feet, but I had a few breaks. One: enrolling in a driving school and then getting my license. Two, watching our subdivision get soaked in floods of many numbers that my dad had to walk through the water to get home. My dad rarely goes home. He’s the new full-time pastor in SIUMC now.
Noteworthy mentions: I finally received my 1001 Knights box! You have no idea how I almost cried seeing those magical books in my hands. We also went to El Nido! I couldn’t swim, so I found no shame getting dragged through the tides, but I saw the gorgeous islands, and I survived!
2019. I was taught grit. To make things less impossible by keeping at it and moving forward, no matter what. I did the laundry, cooked bangus, learned everything I failed to because in the past, my head was stuck in a corner. I got fat. None of my old clothes fit me. I needed new ones, anyway. Besides, I needed to take up space. My camera was broken, so no more pretty pictures. My phone was broken, too. I realized I could live without social media. I had name changes and plot changes and I wrote and rewrote until I could look at my manuscript and not cringe at what I wrote. I made kids play instruments. Started a cell group. Just being kind when others aren’t. A lot of my clients went silent during the beginning of the year, but I’m writing for a new magazine now. And thankful for every opportunity where I had to bend and learn.
I am thinking of many more stories. I wish I have the opening to tell them to you.
So far, I could tell you that I’m still that girl who’d kneel down the floor beside a bookshelf so I can survey every title. Still that girl who loved ARASHI and had a complete change of heart because Sho’s voice is HEAVEN. Still that girl who’d bring books to places where I know I’d wait, because when I had books, I was never really alone. Still that girl who’d screencap new words and save them on a digital scrapbook because who knows? I might need them someday. Still that girl who has anxiety. Still that girl who loves to love.
I have more stories to tell in 2020, and I hope I can tell them better. If you’ve been around all this time, please find your coziest seat and stay, and let’s be in this new ride together.