How can invisible men make themselves lonelier by being seen? (A Monster Calls)


I’m Not Gonna Write You a Love Letter

I realized that my desire for you to write me a love letter is unfounded. I realized that this desire is an act of selfishness, imposing on you what I want you to feel for me. I realized that by asking for one, I would lose the essence of the letter itself. So I too will not write you a love letter.

I realized that I may want to someday write you a love letter. And the sweetest letter I can think of right now will be the wedding vows we may be required to write someday. Therefore, I will not write you a love letter now.

I will control myself from expressing my emotions on paper for mainly two things. The first is that I want my first love letter to you to be special, to be the truth, to express my deepest desire to love you truly and not just mere flattery. I want you to know that every word that I write is right from my heart and that I mean them sincerely. I mean them and I will promise them to God and the witnesses at our wedding. I will write you that love letter to let the world know, just as we are baptized publicly to declare Jesus in our lives, that I love you.

I will control myself from expressing my emotions on paper for one other important thing: I do not know if I will someday walk toward you to the altar. I know this is alarming, and I know I should not even think this, but I think this is appropriate. Just as you try to avoid the topic of yourself writing a love letter, I believe that I should think the same. Maybe you are reserving that love letter for our wedding. Maybe you just don’t want to write. But I am reserving my love letter in the unfortunate event that I may be writing it for the wrong person. I’m sorry. At this point, I guess there are no certainties. There are no final decisions, and nothing is set in stone. Anything can change even if we don’t want it to change. So I won’t write you that love letter.

Someday, I hope you will get to read what I planned to write. Someday, I hope it will be you that I write the love letter to. Someday, I hope that I will get to see your face as I read to you and to the world the words that I have reserved for you, the words that promise me to you forever, because I love you.

Someday, I will write you a love letter.


Photo from here

I know stalemate is a chess term and the picture here actually depicts a gridlock, but this is how I imagine stalemate.

For knowledge purposes, here are their definitions:

Stalemate (noun)

“a situation in which further action or progress by opposing or competing parties seem impossible”

Gridlock (noun)

“a traffic jam affecting a whole network of intersecting streets”

which is another term for a new word I kind of like:

Deadlock (noun)

“a situation, typically one involving opposing parties, in which no progress can be made”

Now why have I chosen to talk about stalemates? Because that’s how it feels now. Nothing anyone can say can make any difference.

Here’s the situation:

You know how when someone older than you, someone you respect very much, does something you’d think they’d already know not to do tells you that they don’t know what to do because they’re doing exactly what they said one shouldn’t do? That’s how it feels.

It’s like telling someone not to do something you’re already doing. The stalemate here is that I can’t say anything about it.

The situation is very disconcerting because we’ve all been here before. It’s like an “I told you so” moment that nobody wants to declare. It’s kind of disappointing. I want to tell her off, tell her that she should already know this, already be aware of the dangers of denying what she already knows. It’s like she’s purposely going through this when she knows she could have avoided it. I don’t understand how one can be so blind.

But what’s even more sad is that I can’t exactly tell her that. I can’t because who am I to talk about blindness? Who am I to talk about denying things that could have been avoided?

I am no one. And this is the stalemate.

You have the solution but you can’t share it because you didn’t use that solution or you know that other person already knows about it. And it becomes ever so frustrating that you end up just not talking about it. Ignoring it. Eventually ignoring the whole relationship. Eventually ignoring each other.

That’s the stalemate. That’s the deadlock.

When I Spotify

I get scared. I mean I get freaked out. And it scares me.

When I listen to songs in Spotify, when I try to update myself with the latest in music hits, I get this weird feeling that eats at me, and it scares me.

When I listen to songs in Spotify, it feels like I’m standing outside while storm clouds roll through the sky, slowly turning a bright day gray. It feels like standing outside and staring at the storm clouds, waiting for it to rain, waiting if it will rain. And I’ve stood on the sidewalk outside for so long before that I should know better. So I run inside and hide in the shelter that is my house.

It’s not that I don’t like Spotify. It’s just that I spent a significant season in my life listening to it. And when I remember that time, it draws me in again, and I don’t want to go back.

What it feels like when I listen to it? I feel like everything becomes fuzzy. I know, you can’t feel fuzzy. But I can. I guess it’s like deja vouz. It’s like everything feels familiar in a very scary way.

What’s scary is that as much as I want to avoid going back, part of me wants it. Part of me wants to run back to that time when I lived mostly in my room, trying to understand what’s wrong with me but at the same time enjoying the silence, enjoying the fact that I will never understand what’s wrong with me. Part of me wants to become that person again.

But I know I shouldn’t. I guess I shouldn’t.



If Past Is Past

If past is past
shouldn’t we stop talking about this?
Shouldn’t we forget about it?
Shouldn’t we just let it go?

If past is past
don’t you think it’s time to move on?
Don’t you think discussing it is just a waste of time?
That even thinking about it proves that past is not past?

If past is past
then don’t remind me of it.
Don’t bring it up in conversations when we promised to be honest to each other.
Don’t blame me of what I’ve done.
Don’t accuse me of what you think I am,
what you think I used to be.

If past is past
then we should walk away now.
Why try to keep this going?
All you want to know is how different I am.

You say past is past
but you tell me it’s all wrong.
How righteous you are to be so good,
how proud of your past you are.

You say past is past
but you keep pulling me back,
back to times I don’t want to remember,
back to times I wish I could change.

If past is past
then what you’re doing is wrong.
What you’re doing is killing me,
destroying everything we’ve been trying to build.
What you’re doing is squeezing me into a corner
and letting me go through everything I want to escape from.

If past is past
then why do I still feel this way?
Why am I so angry at what you’re making me go through?
Why am I so hurt when I think of how different we are?
Why am I so desperate to let this all go?

If past is past
can we just forget about it?
Can we just move on?
Can we just pretend that we’re okay?

If past is past
can you love me now for what I am?
For what I’ve been through?

If past is past
will you now accept me?
Can you forgive me?
Will you take me back?

Do It Yourself

“Oh, that looks like a good view. You should have taken a picture of that.”

“Here, have a camera.”

Sometimes I get so tired of having to live behind the lens. I know this is self-appointed and I love the fact that I can always just quit, but people don’t make it any easier.

The story.

Fireworks. Anyone who knows me would know that I absolutely love fireworks. I used to really run outside the house or dorm and look for the best spot to watch fireworks displays. I’d once hung on to a parked jeepney just so I could watch the fireworks and not have my view obstructed by other people’s heads. I am desperately in love with fireworks. I especially love Disneyland’s end-of-day presentation.

But having spent years taking photos of fireworks, I have realized that I have lost my touch with fireworks. Because I keep looking at the viewfinder, I don’t exactly watch the show anymore. I watch through a lens, and I’m busy trying to capture the moment instead of just being in the moment.

So when people tell me that I should have taken pictures of the fireworks display, here’s what I really want to tell them:

Go, take a picture of it yourself.

There is this beauty and wonder in just standing there, eyes up, waiting intently for the next burst of light. You know that there’s going to be a bang and you’re prepared for it. It doesn’t surprise you, the loud explosion that comes milliseconds after the lights. If it does, it adds to your wonder. So just being there, watching the colors, it feels like I’m back. Just imagining it now, I realize how much I miss just watching the show. Just watching and staring and being myself, imagining the future, imagining possibilities. I miss just waiting for the lights to go out, for the smoke to clear, and for each gasp and sigh from the rest of the crowd. I miss just watching through my own eyes and not behind a lens. I miss being myself.

I miss lying on the grass and staring up into a dark sky as it gets devoured by the lights of an awesome fireworks display.

But they don’t understand that. Just because I have a camera, it doesn’t mean that I always love taking pictures of things. Maybe this time I just want to be there. To be part of something. To be part of the moment. Maybe sometimes I just want to be the one captured in the moment.

But it doesn’t happen like that.

So I take my camera back and stare at the world through a lens. Because, I guess, sometimes if you want things to happen, it doesn’t. You can’t do it yourself.

The Introvert Strikes Again

She wakes up and stares at her laptop screen. It’s still on. She remembers falling asleep to the sound of a video tutorial on how to dye hair. She closes her eyes and thinks of what to do next. She dreads it.

For the past weeks, she has been helping with preparations to a retreat. She has clocked in her sleepless nights of making sure she gets what needs to be done right. She has skipped meals and let go of commitments she has made just to get things done. Now she doesn’t want to go.

It drains her. “Introverts expend energy when in a crowd.” That’s what runs through her head. The thought of being with a lot of people drains her. She doesn’t want to have to smile all the time and not think. She doesn’t want to frown in the corner and think for herself while everybody is having fun. She doesn’t want to be put on the spot and expected to say things and do things when she knows she really could but she’s just too occupied in her head to act on them. She is stuck.

It’s pathetic, I know. I’ve been there. I hate being there. I hate knowing that I could just be someone else and forget that I’m an introvert, that I’m INFP. Forget that I actually don’t want to keep talking to lots of people. I mean, understand that introverts are not antisocial. We’re just really uncomfortable in a crowd where people expect you to talk and mingle. Put us in a small group with trusted people and we can talk our hearts out. But not in a crowd.

I’ve only recently realized that. I have this paralyzing tendency to withdraw from the world when I feel like my life is starting to keel over. I just want to disappear. The familiarity is killing me, and it’s not because it’s breeding contempt. No. It’s because the person people are familiar with is not the person I have to deal with every night on my own. I get it. I can always show them the real me, and they tell me I should. But when I do, they chastise me. They tell me what to do. Why do they think I don’t talk to them in the first place? I know what’s wrong with me. I just can’t explain it to them because they will only try to turn the talk about themselves. “I understand. I’ve been there too. When I felt like that, I . . .” I don’t care!

This is why I want to withdraw. I want to protect myself from angry thoughts. The more I stay away from people, the more I will miss them, the more I will forget the annoyances I’ve had with them. I would rather not always be with them because I’d be harboring bitterness. Correcting them would not do. I plan to do that, but not now. Maybe when I’m about to leave this place, I will send them my letters. Tell them everything through writing because in that way, they wouldn’t be able to talk back. I won’t care what they think then. I’d just be myself. Whoever I am.