Battle Notes

Yesterday…damn it…yesterday.

Felt like I was losing all hope I could ever hold on to. Hope is the only thing that keeps me alive. The hope that I’ll get better. The hope that I’ll be normal. The hope that I’ll be free of the mental illness that has plagued me for most of my life. But yesterday, I felt that hope was missing from the equation.

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I did the usual routine to keep me stable: Pizza. Playing my guitar. Taking photos. But none worked.

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Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor

There’s only one song that I can think of that has made a huge impact on my life, and in the past two years, on my mental health – Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 – 1 Allegro Maestoso.

 

My first introduction to Chopin was through his Nocturnes. I felt a sense of identification with the pieces. Later on, I started filling my iPod with other Chopin songs. One of them was the aforementioned “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 – 1 Allegro Maestoso,” a twenty minute gem of a track that transports me to a state of calm.

 

Right after I fell in love with the song, which didn’t take long, I randomly checked out the Cultural Center of The Philippines website to see if the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, by chance, had its live performance on schedule. Lo and behold, they performed it live literally the night before. I was saddened at the misfortune. I promised myself to always check out the PPO schedule since then. Wouldn’t want to miss another live performance of the life changing piece. That was back in 2010.

 

But I did. Life happened and the once routine of checking the CCP website was forgotten. The PPO performed the piece again in 2015. That’s twice now that I’ve missed it. Never again.

 

October 27, 2017. CCP. Cecile Licad and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra performs Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1 & 2.

 

I mentioned that it’s made a huge impact on my mental health recently as I’ve been using it as a strategy for those times when I’m shit deep in anxiety. I’d imagine myself all alone in a theater, with an orchestra and pianist performing the magnificent piece. All my anxiety would disappear as I use the imagined aural and visual delight as a tether to sanity and serenity.

 

Come October 27, I’ll finally get to hear live one of songs that changed my life.

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My first introduction to Chopin was through his Nocturnes. I felt a sense of identification with the pieces. Later on, I started filling my iPod with other Chopin songs. One of them was the aforementioned “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 – 1 Allegro Maestoso,” a twenty minute gem of a track that transports me to a state of calm.

 

Right after I fell in love with the song, which didn’t take long, I randomly checked out the Cultural Center of The Philippines website to see if the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, by chance, had its live performance on schedule. Lo and behold, they performed it live literally the night before. I was saddened at the misfortune. I promised myself to always check out the PPO schedule since then. Wouldn’t want to miss another live performance of the life changing piece. That was back in 2010.

 

But I did. Life happened and the once routine of checking the CCP website was forgotten. The PPO performed the piece again in 2015. That’s twice now that I’ve missed it. Never again.

 

October 27, 2017. CCP. Cecile Licad and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra performs Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1 & 2.

 

I mentioned that it’s made a huge impact on my mental health recently as I’ve been using it as a strategy for those times when I’m shit deep in anxiety. I’d imagine myself all alone in a theater, with an orchestra and pianist performing the magnificent piece. All my anxiety would disappear as I use the imagined aural and visual delight as a tether to sanity and serenity.

 

Come October 27, I’ll finally get to hear live the song that changed my life.

Selfishness as a necessity

Selfishness as a necessity
I’ve mentioned somewhere, Twitter maybe, that giving up on life isn’t an option for me anymore. I’m not consciously inclined to let go of my life, nor of my existence. I may feel like it, I may feel “it” – taking my own life – but I know damn well that I don’t want to die. I know damn well that I want to continue on living.

Doesn’t matter if it’s a life not ideal. Doesn’t matter if it’s a life that’s less than what I have in mind. Doesn’t matter if it’s a life that’s mediocre. I want to fucking live.

Therein lies the crux of it all – death is not an option anymore.

There was a time when it was always an option, especially when I’m losing grip of it all – my sanity, my dreams, my goals my mission. I took solace in the fact that I could just end it when I couldn’t deal anymore. I had that plan. I had a last resort.

As I said, that’s off the table now. I’ll live on.

I’ll live on with the unbearable pain and heaviness my soul carries day in and day out. I’ll live on with the arms of depression around me, at least until I’m cured. I’ll live on in the darkness that has plagued me all my life.

I’m not saying that I’m not going to be depression free someday. I do know that I’ll be alright someday. I do know that the arms of depression will dissipate. I do know that I’ll kick depression in the ass.

But for times like these when I can’t find the light in this path I’m on, when I’m being pulled in by forces unseen and those caused by my irresponsible strategies of survival, it feels like whatever flicker of hope inside me is fast dying. And I’m backed into that wall I’ve built that separates me from suicide, the pressure of everything pushing me forth until I’m left in ruin.

To help others. That’s always been my mission in life. But I have to help myself now. I consider it selfish, as it entails me leaving my post and become a deserter to assignments that I’ve already signed up for.

I have to be selfish right now. And for my selfishness, I apologize. My sanity – my life – is at stake.

 

Envy

It’s quite ironic how I never really saw myself as a family man, but I do feel envious of friends who have settled down with one. I can’t fully imagine myself having a family of my own, but if envy for those with one is an affliction, then it is one that ails me.

 

I love kids, don’t get me wrong. But they’re not for me. I’m cool with being an uncle of a godfather. Even a father figure. But having children with my rugged good looks and faulty, mental illness-plagued genes, nah.

 

Yet here I am feeling envious of friends who are closer to, if not the same, age as I am. Some are on their third child. Some are married – happily, I hope. Some friends who are man and wife have been together since college and are still going strong. And where am I in the 30s era? Still tiptoeing through the landmines of his own brain, broke, and unable to see himself a year from now. Two months from now, in an extreme case.

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Cold

When you reach a certain age – a certain point in your life – you start to shed certain hopes from your life. You start to slowly lose expectations and certain dreams, what you wish for becomes an impossibility.

 

Human connection in a romantic aspect. It’s starting to become an impossibility in my life. Given my advanced age, I feel as though I’m not meant to be in a relationship. I’m not meant to have romantic love. A reciprocated one, at the very least. Not that it makes any difference now.

 

Never really had much in terms of relationships. I’ve only been in three relationships. Each of those I screwed up royally. Just didn’t work, or I had tons of issues that I needed to work on first.

 

Now, I don’t know. I’m thirty two and still resolving my issues. And there are so much of them. Too much. I don’t know when I’ll cross the finish line in my recovery from depression. Or if I ever will. It’s possible that it’s a recovery that’s meant to last til I’m gone. If that is the case, then I consider it a tragedy – a man who was on the road to getting better, but never actually got better.

 

Going back to love and all that…

 

Yeah. Feels like I am going to be alone in the end, after all. That’s always been one of my greatest fears in life. Even before recovery, even when I was a teenager. Didn’t want to end up alone, didn’t want to be that broken man smoking a cigarette leaning on a lamppost at night, watching everything and nothing pass him by.

 

But the more I think about it, the more days pass by, the more it seems predestined. Like I will become that man.

 

What a lonely life I lead. I’m the one taking care of people best I could. Looking out for them. But there’s no one taking care of me. Can barely take care of myself, honestly speaking.

 

And Logically speaking, I shouldn’t complain. That’s my role – my purpose – not theirs. But emotionally speaking, fucking hell what a fucking life this is. What a fucking lonely life this is.

 

I’ve never felt this cold and alone before.

No More Labels

No More Labels

I’ve gone and done it. Always wanted to even when my main weapon was digital. Back when I was still actively doing music documentations with a digital camera, there was already intent to take a hand at photographing using analog. It was always “somewhere down the line.” Needed to focus first on what I did, you know, before taking on something new.

 

But the path I was in changed. I’ve always walked one path, a continually changing one, and the path suddenly changed back to making music. Decided to sell my camera and gear in order to fund my music (as well as to pay off debts incurred due to the emotionally turbulent holidays last year.) I was a man without a camera, but I was a musician once again.

 

And then the path changed once again. In a span of months, I went from photographer, to singer-songwriter, to … well … I decided to go back to my first love – writing. Figured that I didn’t need any other tool for that aside from my head and my laptop and/or a notebook and pen. But nothing really materialized from that. I had intentions and plans and ideas, but nothing materialized. Couldn’t even regularly update this here blog. When I write, I’ve always needed the use of my brain. With photography and music, it was more of natural instincts. It needed more than just my brain. Photography and music required an economy of movement from my whole body. My head since late last year was all over the place. Mental coherence was, is, a nigh impossible reach.

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This Maddening Scene

This Maddening Scene

It was during college when I wanted to work in the music industry. This was, despite the depression, during the height of my optimism and hopefulness. I had so many dreams back then that revolved around music. I wanted to work in a record label and be an A&R guy. Wanted to manage bands. Wanted to produce records. Even wanted to put up my own record label. Wanted to become a music journalist. Wanted to be in a band or write and sing my own songs on stage, but back then, it seemed like an impossibility.

 

I had an inkling on how to do it that’s based on movies and music documentaries, but it wasn’t enough. I was immersed in the local music scene and research involved observations on how things worked, seeing how artists interact with the venues, the roadies, the managers, the fans, etc. I was twenty-one. It was eleven years ago.

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