I have always loved the idiomatic expression “See you later, alligator!” I love it due to its playful and childish nature. I love it because I personally hate goodbyes and it makes the word “Farewell” more bearable, as if I was simply playing a game of hide-and-seek with the people, pets and memories that I needed to let go. All of them were treasures to me, but just like any scurvy mate washing the moldy wooden floors on a ship that’s filled pirates, I too had to let my treasures go. I had to let them be free from my grasp and be reclaimed by the sea, so they can be brought to where they’re supposed to be.
2017 hasn’t been the kindest year to me. In fact, it has been one of the harshest years that I had ever encountered in my 25 years of existence. 2017 was a barren wasteland, devoid of life and vegetation. No matter where you looked, all you could see were colossal sand dunes stretching for miles and miles. You’d encounter dead carcasses and the bleached remains of the inhabitants that struggled to survive in this place. Inhabitants who had no other choice but to succumb to their slow, agonizing and ruthless end. When I traveled these desolate plains I had three of the best companions with me: Lazy, Green and Dusty. They brought life in this wretched desert and made my days worth living. They became one of the reasons why I wanted to get out of bed and be greeted by their incessant licking and wagging tails. I would’ve wanted for them to stay, but life had other plans and when the time came, they were claimed by the scorched Earth that we treaded upon. I saw each of them perish, one by one, and on each occasion, my eyes never dried up. It just kept pouring and pouring, to the point that it had gotten so swollen and red, one may have thought I had a stink eye.
But the sea of dusts wasn’t the only dimension I had to travel this year. I also had to travel the underworld as well. The abyss, the void, the pit. Yes, I was there and I had traversed those lightless chasms, aimlessly crawling in the dark, flailing my arms left and right, trying to find the path that would lead me to the light. I got stuck there for a while, long enough for its residents to have befriended me. Long enough for its residents to engrave their dark whispers to my soul. Long enough for them to fornicate with my already fucked up mind and violently hump my thoughts until they fill it with their corrupted seeds of negativity. Long enough for them to convince me to once again unzip my skin, making new scars and reopening old ones, making me bleed once again and forcing me to watch the ebb and flow of the crimson life that was gushing out of my wrist and forearm. Long enough to make me once again attempt to carve my own tombstone and dig my own grave. This all happened on April and that is why I consider that month my death because although I survived, something inside of me definitely died.
But April wasn’t the only issue because I had to experience the pain of being sundered as well. My Queen, who I faithfully served for 6 years and 10 months, found another knight to whom she decided that was going to be her king. I don’t blame her though because I wasn’t a good knight. I messed up a lot of times and I was the one who disavowed myself from her, making her find someone new. But that isn’t even the end of it because this was also the year when the medicine men and women discovered a curse that was living deep within my lungs. This was also the year where I drowned in alcohol again, trying to soothe my woes and emptying my pockets just to get a sip of that bitter nectar. This year was a mess and it did indeed left me in a mess…
With all the bad things that happened, this was also a good year.
This was the year poetry boomed and I was able to meet new people. People who had similar interests with me and who shared my passion about poetry. This was the year when I was able to co-found a collective of poets, some would call us a poetry group, and where my feet was able to stand on different stages performing all my of pieces, giving a fraction of myself to the many audiences that listened. This was the year when I was introduced to the music scene here in Cebu and my God is it wonderful. I’ve met talented musicians, made friends with some of them and got to hangout with a few of them. This was the year when I was able to reconnect with God, blessing me with a prayer book that was calling out to me on the bookshop shelves. I opened it up, went to see the dedications section and saw only two words there: For IAN. I got teary-eyed because after all the battles I’ve faced and after all the knee-deep feces that my battered being had to trudge through, God was still there for me and the prayer book was the biggest proof of that. This was also the year that I got to know myself better. I got to know what made me tick, what made me think the way I think, what made me feel the way I feel and a bunch of other stuff. I was able to finally enter the garden of my psyche and take a look at the many flowers that represented each of my emotions and allowing myself to feel them, acknowledge them and let them go. This was the first time that I wasn’t repressing any of them. The first time I wasn’t judging them and it felt so liberating to finally understand that YES – it is okay to be emotional and it is okay to be weak.
2017 was definitely my journey through Hell. 2017 were the scars, bruises and diseases of my body. 2017 was the death of a part of me, something that I could never again revive. 2017 was the time when I had lost myself and was gobbled up by oblivion, trapped between its sharp teeth and swallowed whole.
But 2017 was also my hopes and dreams come true. 2017 were all of the amazing people I have met throughout my journey. 2017 was the year when I indulged myself in art, music and poetry, showing a side of me that I’ve neglected all the while. 2017 was the acceptance of myself and the time where I allowed my emotions to flow, not repress them and store them up in a bottle. Most importantly, 2017 was my reunion with God, the Almighty Creator.
I do not wish for 2018 to be kinder. I do not wish for it to be more mellow, or sugar-coated. I just wish for it to help me grow in wisdom and in heart. I wish for it to help me become the best possible version of myself.
Happy New Year, ladies and gentlemen. Give yourselves a pat in the back and a toast because we made it through another year.