I have a lot to say but I don’t know how to frame any of it. I don’t know how to start, or what really matters, or how I want you to see me. I have a feeling that I wanted to write a poem earlier, but I can’t remember what I was thinking to make me think of writing a poem. I feel like I’ve been rebooted, like everything I knew is now gone and I’m starting from scratch and looking around and wondering how I ended up in this place of uncertainty and half-assness.
I feel apathetic. Uncaring. Indifferent. Relaxed. Complacent. I feel like politics and art and everything else that used to make my blood boil with passion has lost meaning and weight. I am here; my battles are there. I am here, in a tropical paradise where I am part of the 1%; and all of my problems, issues, and crises are there, on the other side of the globe, being handled, fought, contrived, and manipulated by people who aren’t me. I no longer have a say or a stake in that place, with those words, in that context. It no longer applies to me.
And yet. This place, with its oppression and rebellion and poverty and hope and God is not really mine, either. Whereas I am an expat of NYC, I am also a visitor of the Philippines. I have staked claim on nothing but my privilege and my status. I have defined myself as other and have taken no great pains to remove that label from my back. This place, though growing more and more into someplace I love, could never be my home. It could never be my anything. It’s just a pit-stop, a layover, a vacation away from real life and real problems and the real me. It’s a place to recuperate from the trials of heavy living, and to relax my body, and refuel and replenish without feeling guilty or burdened or lost. I am here, in this place of beauty, living as close to the life that I want as I’d like, and yet this is not real. This is only the dream before reality sets in, and I’m loving it and taking advantage of it and coaxing it into resembling more and more what I want it to look like.
I have no place. I have no definition. I don’t know where I fit or where I should stake my claim. So I busy myself with my family: Rob, Riley, and Micah. I worry about my brother and my parents. I try to figure out where our maids fit in in the big picture. I try to make conclusions about who I am and what it is that I’m about and who I’m trying to be…
But the truth is, I don’t feel anything. I’m completely numb. I don’t know if it’s my rigorous schedule, or the fact that I never get a chance to process my experiences before a new chapter dominates every aspect of my life. Maybe I just can’t handle the ways of the Philippines. Maybe I’ve simply given up on my values and virtues. All I know is, I feel as thought a significant measure of my fight is gone. And I need it back. ASAP.
It sounds crazy and stupid, I know, but the truth is, I can’t function without drama. And not just any drama, but high drama. Life-or-death, do-or-die, end-or-the-world kind of drama. Call it conditioning: I’ve become so used to high drama that I don’t know what to do with myself if it’s no longer there. All I know is, my life, though definitely running a lot smoother as of late, is no happier for the change. In fact, I’m bored. All I worry about now are the mundane and everyday: style, fashion, family, health, my grades, et al… The important things – family, friends, and finances – are pretty much covered and I breeze through those responsibilities. But I need… something.
I’m remembering what a little firecracker I used to be. Back in my Brooklyn College days, I felt like I was someone special, and I had a huge chip on my shoulder. I’m not exactly proud that I always felt like I had something to prove, but I have fond memories of what it felt like to be passionate about the difficult goals that I had. These days, I feel old and washed up. Nothing feels new and exciting. Sex, drugs, and alcohol? Been there, done that. Toed the flaming line of sinful escapades? Yup, and lived on the other side for a really, really long time, too. Made my share of memories that make me giggle when I think of them? Absolutely. But what can I do now to spice things up? I don’t want to do anything illegal just for the hell of it, and I don’t want to risk my life doing anything ridiculous. But I need my heart to race. I need my pulse to quicken. I need to feel ALIVE again.
As much as I love my life and am completely grateful for all I have, I have to admit: THIS is exactly why I rebelled against a career in nursing in particular and conventionality in general. THIS FEELING. The not caring, the not wanting, the lack of extreme emotions, the quiet soul, the calm confidence, the mature perspective. It’s all really zen, I’m sure, to some people. But what it feels like to me is a beautiful prison.