para kay kuya, a rhetorical letter

this isn't going to be a very good piece of writing, but i felt like i just had to try to communicate myself. over the weekend, i was trying to come up with a coherent plan for tackling my list of problems and crises. and one of the items on my list was your name.

i tried to think about my dilemma with you over and over, and ended up having a thoroughly unproductive weekend. the place where you are in my heart is an area of vulnerability for me, because whenever i try to visit that place to get a grip and a sense of things - what was wrong, why it was wrong, what can be done - i always find myself either in tears or on the verge of it, miserable and tearing myself apart, and awash with guilt and pain.

letting you down has got to be one of the most painful things i've ever done in my entire life. i didn't like doing that to you, and in fact, i don't really like doing that to anyone.

why did i let you down? the time that you knew me, i was suffering from depression and i knew that my life was caught in a horrifying downward spiral. i couldn't do anything about it, because one of the ways that i experienced depression was that my sense of control over myself, my actions, and my will were taken away. it was like being meg in hercules (although that might be romantic overreach), trapped in an underworld and bound with a ball and chain. it was like riding in the driver's seat of a car, but having no power over its controls, so you watch helplessly by as you find yourself driving into a direction that's clearly no good.

the time that we were having that last discussion over ym; it was a december of 2011, and it was the first time that i was finally noticing cracks on the wall that held me off from myself and my life (as if a dam was finally breaking). i had little emotional strength that time, because it was a mark of conditions under the state of depression that i seemed to be continually unnaturally tired and drained almost all the time, emotionally and physically. depression was a deadweight. the smallest actions and effort resulted almost immediately in undue exhaustion.

so i had scant emotional (and physical) capabilities and i was faced with two choices: either i use them for meeting up to things with you, or i use them to save myself from depression. there was little to be had in terms of what i could give or what i could do. it was an either or. i couldn't have both.

you caught me at a time when i was at the edge of a cliff, one arm held out, holding on to myself at the other end, trying to pull myself back from the cliff and into safety. i had to choose between you or me, because choosing you involved letting go of me. under the culture of depression i was in, i didn't really have a great hand of cards, so the tradeoffs were terrible.

it wasn't that i loved myself more. it's just that i figured you'd need me anyway to do what you were asking me to do, so it made sense somehow to save me first, so that i could show up with me in tow? right? and if you knew that the choice was like that, wouldn't you have chosen as well the saving of me first from certain disaster, and especially since we really need me anyway as a prerequisite for everything else in life?

and what about our duties to self? don't we also have a duty to ourselves to recognize our value as a person and as someone worth saving from a dark valley of depression, if we could?

also, the odds were high that we wouldn't have enjoyed the experience that time. that time, if we'd given it to ourselves, it would have been like eating chop suey without all of its edifying ingredients, the reasons why we would have wanted to eat it in the first place. i wouldn't have wanted to let you down that way either.

not many of the people around me actually enjoyed being with me that time. it was only that the people around me (esp clyde, lala) were ultra nice so that made up for many things that were lacking, especially on my part. my shortcomings were glaringly present but niceness and pleasantness have a way of working like carpet over rough ground; it smoothed some things and looked over other things with kindness.

i actually understand why you did what you did. i agree with you; the things you consider important are really important naman. i wouldn't have wanted you to relax your sense of requisites as well. i just can't meet them.

i'm still in problem-solving mode. this weekend, the reason why i put myself in a place to think over your piece of the puzzle was that i wanted to organize and color-code my problems so that i would have a way of apprehending them more logically and methodically. or that's the idea, anyway.

your piece of the problem has your name on it and the question how do i deal with the fact that i feel like a complete scumbag for having done this to you?

and i'm writing this not to make myself feel better but because i'm still in hot water and i have a small, precarious tower of problems that i'm still desperately trying to figure out and deal with. they cover all the major aspects of life and my thinking is that tackling them all at the same time is suicide because the scale and the weight of them all would kill me.

so i need a strategy. and the thing is there's this part of me where your name's on that's like a bruise that if someone passes a finger over, makes me wince, as if it hurts. and judging from how i act afterwards, it seems to get me really badly, badly enough that it seems to me to warrant some kind of ad hoc medicine or something.

because i have a mountain to move, so i need to be okay to be up for this kind of thing. which means that i can't allow my thoughts to linger on you or else i will begin to feel completely terrible, which i cannot allow myself to feel so much for the moment.

it's not that you're not important. it's just recognition that some things in life have requisites. like, for example, in order to get to wonderful, you first need to get to okay. okay-ness is a requisite to wonderful-ness.

and anyway, getting through my problems is also the way to possibly getting to that place where we could have open the possibility of having chop suey that could possibly contain the taste that it deserves. you and i wouldn't want to be stuck with rotten chop suey, would we?

i'm not thinking that writing this is solving anything. i just, at the very least, can't continue on, never even acknowledging to myself or to anyone else that you were important to me, as if your absence never blew a hole right through my heart, or that i never felt a stab of pain or flinched even a little in pain.

so right now, i'm trying to refocus my lens and gather momentum for my next efforts. which seems to me to mean as well that i might need to place you in the back burner of my mind for the time being, so that i can do my job. i'm anticipating that the entire process is going to feel sisyphean - you know, like that greek mythology guy sisyphus, who had to roll a rock upward a hill only to have it roll back down on him time and again? i think it's going to feel like that. it'll be more night than day, more like having too many piles of dead mice dropped on my door than i can handle. so it's not going to be fun.

but if i hang out with friends occasionally and smile and laugh every now and then, that's okay, right? because i need to stay sane. and i'll be working on things hard, so if and when good things come because of it, that's okay, too, right? in a way that's like yay?

so i'll be working on the things i need to work on, but just for the record, i think about you all the time. and also, for the record, i don't know how to cook chop suey. good night.


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