Diary Entries

January 9, 2017
2017 whispered to me and said, “You’re a jerk” and it’s enlightening. It’s a thing I’ve known before, but something I was just recently forced to look more into through a different light.
I’ve been intentionally working on myself emotionally and mentally for the past years since the latter part of my high school years. I’ve improved a lot, yes. I’ve become more social, more forgiving, and a little kinder. I'm still mean sometimes but a little less now than I was, like, five years ago. However, 2017 really hit me or something. Like, hit me with a different hammer ten times. Percussive maintenance (a technical term for hitting something until it works, according to Unbelievable Facts), I think, finally worked on me.
"Self-love is a good thing but self-awareness is more important. You need to once in a while go ‘Uh, I’m kind of an a******.'" — Louis C.K.

I’m impulsive. I make bad decisions and end up hurting people— things I try really hard to avoid. I just lost a really close friend and it made me kind of sick to my stomach. I detest being hurt. But hurting people, I realize, hurts just as much. Usually, when I hurt someone, it’s a side effect of them hurting me, not a reason of its own. I can’t recall a single moment I hurt a person just for the sake of it.
So, hurting a person — not as a side effect, just for a different reason, unintentionally, unexpectedly, because of an unsure decision and an impulsive action— still kind of feels like it’s somewhat due to hurting someone just for the sake of it. And it’s sickening. To me.
I’ve had a hard time acknowledging my own reasons and forgiving myself, which questions my declaration of being “more forgiving”. I think that only worked for other people. I had to use percussive maintenance to actually consider my own mistakes and forgive myself (a little); percussive maintenance in the form of flashbacks and cringes on repeat were the status quo. Metaphorically, it’s like firm hands on my face forcing me to look at the same old messages until I admit and accept that I could be a really terrible person. It tested how “forgiving” I really am and how far my limits go.
Up to this moment, I’m still very, deeply, truly sorry. Perhaps, I always will be. I hope he’s okay. Deep down, I want to justify what I did in hopes of us being back to normal (what is normal even?), but that’d be pointless and just not right. I hurt him. It has already been done. 
Well, early 2017 strongly taught me how to willingly take the consequences of my indecisive mind and impulsive actions; and showed me how it feels to sacrifice something important for both parties’ sake.
2017, I see you’re really packed. You’re kind of leaking. Maybe a bit too early, I think.

January 10, 2017
I’m in the jeepney on my way to the university and it’s four o’clock in the morning.
I feel weird. I’m not anxious about seeing lots of people in that hall, waiting in line to pay their enrollment fees or tuition balance. I’m not scared of seeing people this time. I don’t have pre-anxiety for something I probably won’t be scared of once I’m there. I actually feel like I’m going to miss all these things, which is weird, since I’m not really fond of crowds.
Thinking about my internship— which starts this month and how it’s like a purgatory on my way to hell (which is, like, the “real world”) – makes me want to be present in every remaining second of my college years. After the internship, I’m most likely off to the real world, uncontrollably forcing me to be a real “real adult”. I will leave my blue room for good, even the old windows, wooden floor and stairs, and views of roofs and backyards outside. I will spend less time with my nephew and mom and dad and grandma and friends, and just, you know, basically all my family. And it’s kind of scary and makes me nostalgic for something that hasn’t even ended yet.
It’s only 4:41 AM and the cashier line has already stretched to the third floor. My university’s payment system is beyond problematic. It is and it has been for years. I think it got worse.
I’m in line among thousands of students here. It kind of feels nice to be in a priority lane after mapping the hallways for over twelve hours by occasionally sitting on the floor. The line got cut off yesterday and the staff told us to come today with our respective numbers to be in the priority lane. I’m like, the twentieth person here in front of Valencia hall. Usually, when I’m in front of many people, I get more fidgety. But since I woke up at 3:30 AM, my fatigue just makes me apathetic.
I’m so tired. Yesterday, they told us to come early because it’d be “first come, first serve”. Folk, what happened? After waiting for hours, the staff announced that the students who have exact payments would be prioritized and would line up first. What about the students who were in front of the line and who came earlier? Seems like a great metaphor for our society, to be honest.
I am a shy person, even a very awkward one (more awkward than usual) in the right intimidating situations, but it made me go up to the stage and ask the security guard, who was pretty clueless as well, if we could retain our position in line.
I won’t tell all the details but after some messy transactions, I finally got out of that hell. Will I miss this? God, I hope not.

January 13, 2017
I just got home from my interview for a popular magazine/printing company. It’s the second magazine company I’d been interviewed for. And I’m having a really hard time choosing between the two. So far, this is one of the hardest decisions I have to make in early 2017.
The first one is smaller than the second one. It isn’t as well-known but the people in the office seem really nice. I remember laughing with the interviewer most of the time I was being interviewed. She’s really pretty, very down-to-earth, and adorable. She told me she doesn’t want to make anyone anxious. She asked me things based on my resume. She also made sure to match my potential tasks based on my requirements in completion of my internship. After the interview, they asked me when I could start.
The second one is a known company and bigger than the first one. I waited for an hour because the person who’d interview me had a meeting. During that time, I saw people come in and out of the office. Some people look very quirky in their outfits and hair colors. Some look simple yet elegant. They look really confident and come in groups. I was a bit intimidated.
The woman who interviewed me embodied an aura of professionalism and showed an impression of being in this industry for years. She shook my hand and introduced herself two times. She didn’t ask me anything about my resume. She mostly orientated me about their company and what my tasks (or lack thereof) would be, which was pretty enlightening and nerve-racking. After that she asked me when I could start.
I live in the province. These companies are definitely far from my house. I still have no familiarity of places around here. I won’t tell all the details but the thing is, I feel safer in the first one for some reason. The second one carries a great name, which will be great on anyone’s resume. I just feel a little less safe. Maybe I’m being a coward but I just feel like I’m not ready, knowledgeable and equipped for it yet.
Also, the first one has stayed in touch with me a few times. They really expect and need me, it seems. It’d be a shame if I just turn them down after weeks of waiting for me.
Well, I don’t know. I guess I’ve already chosen one. I hope I’m making the right decision. I hope this turns out well for me. And if it doesn’t, I hope I’ll have the courage to turn things around.

January 16, 2017
It is past midnight and I just stopped crying. I just finished reading one of my journals, this one specifically about one person. It is a black notebook I stole from my brother.
On the first page, a note was scribbled in lowercase:
if i die earlier, please give this to [unnamed person].
Under that note was the full name of the unnamed person. “Pretentious move,” I thought, shaking my head in my mind but knowing I wouldn’t stop being one. I don’t think I will ever stop being pretentious. It’s my guilty pleasure and a favorite word I’ve attached to my (online) identity.
Perhaps, I’m programmed to be consumed by all the essential things in life, more prominently by love, and to always look back at the pretentious things I’ve done for it, months or years from when it intensely consumed me. Like, right now, this pretentious journal was used around the latter part of 2016. And months later, I’m here looking at the pretentious introductory note on its first page. 
The last entry was on October  20, 2016. There are a few blank pages left, but I already stopped writing in it before it’s even completely filled. “I’m so good at leaving love,” LANY’s "Walk Away" echoes in the distance.
The birth of this journal started weeks after I first met the unnamed person. The main purpose of the black journal was written on the second page.
You know those transitions that happen when you’re getting to know someone? From “who is this stranger” to “oh, they’re cool” to “oh wow, I’m fascinated” to “they’re literally perfect” to “a bit comfortable with them” to “distinguishing their flaws” to “I accept all of their flaws I see right now and I will be seeing in the future” to “I'm very comfortable with you”. I think this entire transition, even when it is a bit sad and frustrating, is beautiful and fascinating.
It is the reason why I’m writing this. It is the reason why I have this notebook. The purpose is to write about it; to immortalize such transitions that might be forgotten in the midst of the journey. Our memories are sometimes so fleeting, so fragile. Especially when you actually live in the moments. When you’re living in the present, you don’t really get to remember most of it. And I learned that. That’s what I learned after knowing people that made me live in the once-present moments.
I wrote it for the unnamed person in a way, yet I had no plans of showing it to them.
Have you ever read a quote before and never related to it? But now when you read it, you’re just like, “Yeah. I felt that.” I feel that way about this particular quote from the movie The Diary of a Teenage Girl: “I want someone to be so totally in love with me that they would feel like they would die if I were gone.” Yeah, I felt that. Now I relate to it in a way that I am that someone who fell so totally in love and felt like she was dying.
I felt like I was dying to the point that I couldn’t even look at this journal without having a panic attack or something. It felt like I created my own knife that could stab me by itself. I felt like a traitor to my own self. A once source of comfort then became a source of fear. I was so scared of touching this notebook that I hid it under piles of unread books. I was so scared of remembering.
That was a couple months ago. Now it sits on my lap.
Reading the entries months after they were written detached me from myself a little. It was like reading someone else’s journal— you don’t recall much of what was written, you discover incidents as you read. I appreciated them a little more.
Every entry is a recollection of an acquired lesson through vulnerability and understood clearly through honesty. Reading them showed me things I learned in the past year.
  1. Circumstances forced me to accept that one’s silence usually isn’t about you.
  2. Basically, don’t take everything personally.
  3. Working on your fear is the point, not your fear’s comebacks.
  4. “Sometimes when you miss someone, your mind makes these romanticized ideas or fantasies, making it seem like talking with them will be this amazing collision of atoms or something. And then you talk to them again and you realize your romanticized idea is actually grander than what actually is there. And that’s okay.”
  5. “You work on your perception. Understand why it thinks that way.”
  7. Self-responsibility should be bigger and more prioritized than my love for anyone else.
  8. Attachment theory.
  9. “Actually, I don’t want to write these down. Writing down my feelings always does something to me. It makes me forget. And move on.”
  10. “Writing down also calms me down. It soothes my emotions. Like, once my thoughts flow through my pen, they stop colliding in my head. They become caged in these papers.”
  11. “The reason why I’d always refuse to write things down is because I’m required to remember again, to rub salt in it and to feel it all over again. But I know in able to forget, I must remember first. Usually, that’s what happens when I’m writing. Once I write down my negative feelings, I stop feeling them. I’d like to exclude positive ones and love. Love is too powerful to be easily forgotten.”
  12. Talk to yourself verbally. Give yourself advice.
Of course, everything I’ve learned for the past year couldn’t be summed up by only twelve points. Some of them, I barely recall. They’ve probably evaporated in my subconscious. 
It is past midnight and I can’t stop feeling nostalgic. Everything I’ve ever felt feels much greater in retrospect. Maybe it’s a good thing, maybe it’s not— it depends how I define “everything”, as 8-bit Stories told me. Maybe it feels greater because once it’s over, it’s not just what it was. You see it anew. It’s no longer just a tragedy but an experience, a lesson; a written self-help book or a self-manual. It becomes a multi-edged sword; a mixture of your past and present self’s refreshed perception.
The act of holding and reading this journal after fearing it for months is probably one of the most prominent reminders that I am more powerful than I care to admit.

Maybe I should start writing on its blank pages again.

Text by Samantha Fabian and Visual by Julia Tabor

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