search or settle

I cannot speak for others, my speech is feeling strange, but I am searching for something more. As a shock to many minds close to me, I am too often content to suffer. It is terrible, and it is great (introspection is an incurable disease). Infinite happiness is not my end goal during this life, full experience is. I crave darker, deeper things. Shadow confessions, tears of bliss, lust palpitations, the terror of raw intimacy. If you agree, I am yours.

I cannot speak for the other times I have looked for love. However, this time I did not search, it grew. This time does not simply refer to lust or romance, it is all encompassing. I am searching for something holistic. I require a basis of trust. I require consistent friendship, respect, and honesty in times of utter chaos. If you agree, I am yours.

I cannot speak to the far future, when simplicity may be what I require. Now, I am not looking for something simple. I refuse to be bored. You challenge me, infuriate me also. With you I feel elation, passion, and security. This is what I desire: stability without the absence of growth, and trust without the absence of challenge. If you agree, I am yours.

I cannot speak to what you feel now. I will not, for fear of the response, ask if you are already experiencing these things with another that I so adamantly desire with you. I refuse to ask questions whose answers will nearly certainly rip my sanity to shreds, although it is often difficult to stop my lips from forming the words.

But if you desire these things, if you desire them with me, if you have not found them yet, if you thirst for anything more, if you are not looking only for gentle or easy, if you are not content with dull but safe,

I am already yours.

days without sun

You say you like to hear what I feel, but maybe it is wrong to say what I feel. Especially while you continue the life you have delicately built elsewhere, while your hands and heart are so very busy elsewhere.

You were patient with me, but I do not have so much patience. Maybe from distance, maybe from time, a sense of urgency persists. It is torture for myself, to feel such urgency to be with you when there are no tools except absolute decimation of my current trajectory, to offer relief. Even then, the outcome is variable. But for what am I asking?

My dreams are much closer to delusions; I rely on them for sanity. Without them I have no hope. My sense of reality is skewed by intense desire because I want something that is no longer offered, something currently impossible. My morals and behavior do not align, and the cognitive dissonance manifests itself in obsessive thought patterns and insomnia. It feels like I am living here, and also like I am absolutely not. Speaking to you, hearing you, brings me a worrisome amount of joy. It also solidifies and validates the false reality that exists inside my head.

I forget you are not mine because of how badly I want it to be true. When I remember, I always trip on regret. I choke and gasp on frustration, despair, and especially jealousy. I will now, out of necessity, try to pause on numbness, silence: silencing my words to quiet my mind. (Dissociation can be powerfully helpful if used correctly. Too often I cannot feel deeply and function properly, simultaneously).

Maybe then I will more easily remember that there is a current reality in which you actually exist, one where you are happy and already in love. One that is extremely different from my delusional, hopelessly romantic, future-oriented false reality in which you also exist.

I’m angry with myself today: hope is dangerous.

unfinished observations | complete emotions

I can’t finish any thoughts or ideas these days. They pop into my head, I say “I wonder” and then study some more language, or work on transcribing key informant interviews of government officials in Tagalog, or get a few hours of blissful sleep.

There’s something I’m not really sure how to talk about but have been thinking about a lot: this is a cross cultural experience, and for the community I will be placed in, I am a representative of what it means to be American. I feel very uncomfortable about perpetuating the “American girl” stereotype because I am white, present as female, and am feminine. I am also not openly part of the LGBTQ+ community and have various other stereotypic American rom-com traits about me. We have such an incredible diverse group of trainees this year and I just feel a bit odd about perpetuating that stereotype by simply being myself, when it’s already such a firm stereotype of Americans here. Not sure why or what to do about it. (How to reframe my perception, address it, etc.)

I am not good at change. I will stay uncomfortable rather than make changes for improvement of a situation just because…I don’t know I just do. Working on it. Here, it’s different. I have so much to learn. If my Nanay asks if I am tired and I respond yes, she will say ok then rest now like it’s such an obvious fix to my current discomfort. However if I expressed that I was tired at home, I might receive some advice like, “can you cut hours at one of your jobs?” or “what have you been eating maybe it’s making you tired”. Maybe it’s just my family at home or something, or maybe I’m incorrectly expressing myself here because of language and culture barriers, but I wonder at the vast difference between these two responses. There’s definitely a different view on timeframes within the two situations, but I can’t speak to where this difference exists and in which contexts I observe it.

Oooo my brain is NOT working.

Things have calmed, I do not feel that despair, that gripping fear that if I stay here I will lose you. I’m feeling more…me recently. More whole and confident in my abilities. More trusting of my skills and ideas. The negative feelings (for now) surrounding the idea of “us” have mostly disappeared, thank goodness, however the firm assuredness about wanting to be with you remains. This is novel for me. Usually, when I feel more confidently Me, that’s when relationship anxiety kicks in because I believe that relationships often make me less Me. With you, I believe this is the opposite of the truth. Now, it is just a fact of my life: a life with you is what I want. There is no questioning, there is no anxiety about unrequited feelings. I can control my actions only and I will fight, upon my return, to be with you. I cannot, for my own sake, spend my time with people I know are not right or good for me anymore. If there is anything that I have learned in the Philippines so far, it’s that family, friends, and love are the most important things in life. It’s just part of life here to stay very physically near to the people you love, to your community. And if you leave, you always return. I am very grateful to be here, because this lesson is something I needed to be reminded of in a very big way.

manipulation

I remember a therapist from 7th grade.

I remember telling her that I thought anxiety and excitement to be incredibly similar, and that I could almost manipulate my anxiety to reframe it into excitement when absolutely necessary.

She encouraged me to do this because during that time, intense anxiety was stopping me from doing things I wanted to.

Maybe I’ve been doing that for far too long. Maybe I am now prone to confuse the two due to my purposeful manipulation of anxiety at a young age.

Maybe I turn away from things that excite me because I identify it incorrectly as fear. Or honestly maybe not. I don’t know.

Maybe I run towards things that terrify me because I incorrectly identify it as excitement, and then freak out when I get there (here). This seems more true.

3 hours of sleep per night is beginning to take its toll on my mental processes.

dreams and reasonings

I must stay because you are the only reason that I would leave.

I must not stay because love is the only acceptable reason for leaving, and it is why we are all here.

I roll these ideas around in my mind and mouth, and every time I do, things make less sense.

Maybe I’m not hopeful, per se, that I can do what I came here to do, but I am intensely curious about it. This intense curiosity is what drives me places.

I must stop acting like my decisions are out of my control (although I must also examine why it feels this way). I chose this, I wanted this, I want this, and I am wanted here.

However, because I no longer fear loving you, I now fear losing you. Funny how that transition works like the flip of a switch. The fear just bounces around and I’m still unsure of how to put it to rest. I just woke up from a strange dream about Ohio. It’s very late here, my mind rests without my consent at this hour.

I don’t know anything. Especially Tagalog particles and sentence structure. Today, I will stay. Tonight, I will think of you.

the why

I do not look at you and see a man who will take until I am spent.

I do not look at you and see a man who will manipulate, or believe himself to be stronger, smarter, and better than I.

I do not look at you and see a man whose simple way of life forces me into the role of teacher; it too often feels like I’ve created curriculum for how to communicate, how to emote, and how to recognize emotions (I am very, very tired).

I look to you for a place to rest my mind from constant explanation.

I look to you for advice (I say this only about a few).

I look to you and see intelligence, honesty, and passion. I see someone to discuss with, to explore with, to grow with, as an equal.

I have always feared romantic love and personal growth to be mutually exclusive, because this is what I have experienced. I do not have even a shadow of fear about this when I think of being with you.

There are no alarm bells ringing because the words “settling down” do not apply.

For once, staying does not equate to settling.

Staying simply means being present.

Tonight, I cannot think of anything I’d rather do, if only I had not already left.

drifting

We snorkeled yesterday. I saw lots of incredible fish, corals, and inverts, but my favorite part was floating and losing my depth perception. I thought this entry would be about the ocean, but when I think of drifting in the sea, my mind goes to you.

What is stopping me from doing exactly what I want to? I think maybe confusion of what that is. I feel like I can’t hear myself. “Trust your gut” but what the hell is she saying? Everything is jumbled.

Here are some things I know: I want desperately to be with you, so much so that it clouds my judgement (I am done telling myself that this is not ok and have decided to treat it as a sign). I am probably having culture shock. This time could be good for building personal resilience and trust in myself, which seems to have been lost around my birthday last year.

Here are some things I’m afraid of: losing you by doing this. Leaving and regretting it. Staying and regretting it. Leaving and then getting restless for travel due to shame from quitting. Staying and getting restless that I am here for no reason, when I could be building a life elsewhere.

I am feeling hopeless today.

It feels wrong to ask if I could make a home with you. It feels unfair to tell you that my heart already has. It is dangerous to say that, in every single future plan I have for myself, we are together. It is even riskier, and absolutely terrifying, to admit that I am willing to make sacrifices if they will lead to a sustained concept of us.

This is what I know (this is all I know).