Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On finally getting fixed

So, it really has been far too long since I've written an entry worth it's salt. Part of the reason, if I'm going to be honest and fair to myself, is the fact that (and I'm going to write this in Spanish/Puerto Rican), este semestre ha sido tan algarete y tan random, que no he tenido mucho tiempo pa' sentarme aquí y escribir algo que valga la pena de leer. I mean, honestly, I'm not sure whether this half year or last year's half year was this random. But, to be completely truthful, this has been great. New best friends, love, sex, hanging out and drinking, enjoying the good times, dragging ourselves past the bad goes life, and I'm really loving it.

In that respect then, I'm wondering if maybe the other reason I haven't really posted a new entry in over several blue moons is because maybe...I don't need to anymore. When I started this blog last May, I did so with the thought that, on the inside, I felt like a very broken person. I wasn't sure what exactly was wrong, or how to fix it, but one day, sitting in front of my computer and remembering that I had a Blogger account, I thought to myself, wouldn't it be a good concept to write a blog based on how to fix a young adult female like myself (because really, I wasn't such an adolescent anymore)? And that's how I started. I'd write about anything that came to mind, be it situations I found myself in, topics that I felt compelled to write about, or how I was feeling on the inside.

But I'm not doing that anymore. I haven't written any humorously cynical entries about, say, asshole bus drivers in San Juan. I haven't written about this experiment set for May 2008, that, if it works, will create limitless energy for humanity. And I haven't written about how I've finally found what could be the first true love of my life (because much as I'd love to be with him for a very long time, life is life, and things don't always go my way). So when I think about it...maybe whatever was broken on the inside, be it my self-esteem or my confidence or my faith in how kickass life can be, has finally gotten fixed. I'm fixed.

Wish I could figure out how that happened though, since I didn't even notice. Kind of like AMV Hell 4. It came out in September and I found out about it yesterday. Ah well. I don't really need to know.

So, maybe this is the end of this blog. But no need to lose faith; maybe I'll start a new one soon, with a brand-new premise. I like blogging a lot, so that's never out of the question. To those who still follow this, thanks for reading. It's been a fun ride.

Friday, September 14, 2007

On having a belief

My goodness, I can't remember the last time I put up an entry. I do apologize. To be honest, since this blog isn't meant to be personal (as I've always stated), I didn't really have anything to write about, which I could consider important. But before writing, I'll be nice and update slightly on life. Summer was partially boring and partially busy for me, since I took class half the time. I also spent time with old friends and talking to my newer ones more from college. And, I got started on getting into the routine of working out. It's done marvels, though I've skipped this week since I'm sick. But that doesn't stop me from feeling ever so slightly guilty. I'll go back starting Monday though, since by then, I'm sure to be better.

As for this semester, I'm probably going to shoot myself in a month's time. I did the suicide move and took six classes: one department class, two concentration classes, one minor class, one "take this or you don't fucking graduate" class, and one class that I don't need but wanted to take. I just finished a seven-hour study session for two tests I have next week, so you can imagine how the work load's been. But I still have time to involve myself in random things with friends and drink and such. And to even date. So no, I'm not single anymore. I kinda miss the single life, but my guy's great, so it's not a terrible loss.

So anyway, a recent conversation with someone has spurred me onto this particular train of thought. The topic was, of course, about religion and spirituality. At the moment, to avoid confusion and long speeches, I simply said I was agnostic. So, of course the person remarked at the hypocrisy of this, since agnostics are generally believed to neither believe nor disapprove of the existence of God and such. But I really wasn't in the mood to argue or to explain my beliefs in detail, so I just dropped it. Besides, we're all entitled to our own beliefs.

What, then, are mine in specifics? Well, for easy reference, here they are in list form.

  1. I do not believe in the institution of religion. From my perspective, it has done nothing good for society. Rather, it creates fanatics, gives false hope, and is the basis of terrible discrimination. Not to mention quite a few wars, including the current "war" on terrorism, however fake said war is. I know that all three things can be created through other means (this island's political climate is a perfect example of how fanatical people can become as a cause of individual politicians). But, religion, as I understand it, is meant to guide people, and it just does such a lackluster job at it.
  2. I think that neither myself nor anyone else has the power to prove or disprove the existence of a higher being, be it God or whatever else it is. If something does exist, we'll never know it, and maybe it's better that way.
  3. Regardless of #2, I am a proponent of determinism. My main reason for this is because, in the debate of free will vs. destiny, I find free will to be way too chaotic to have any real basis in the universe. Everything to the existence of this universe to the relationships we make really just don't seem like they can happen at random. This would also mean that I hold great value to the past, since the past determines today's society, and the chain goes on like that.
  4. As I've mentioned before in past entries, I'm also a supporter of existentialism. Though the idea goes against determinism, the way I believe in it doesn't go against my beliefs at all. Everything that happens might have a reason and might be pre-determined, but I fully believe that it's up to each human being to decide what to make of this and their lives. Basically, we take the events that come at us, and we decide how to interpret it and how to go about it. In this way, I also place higher value on the individual's beliefs and not on society's beliefs and social constructions.
  5. Finally, I think it would now go without saying that, in a choice of religion, philosophy and science, I fall into the philosophy group. Asides reasons mentioned, I just can't support a religion because so much is based on theories that are usually not up for change (and depending, up for debate either). And so much just isn't based on reason and logic that there's no way I can look at religion as a guide for myself. As for science, while it appeals to my logic, it doesn't provide me with any basis of sustaining myself.
To summarize the last part, I'll put an example: the existence of cockroaches. If I'm going to use the Christian version of how the world was created, then why the fuck didn't Noah squish them out of existence? Really, they're disgusting and have no use except to survive nuclear winter. Now let's take science. Go on Darwin, evolutionize your way out of THAT one. Well, it's not that philosophy can properly answer this stupid example either, but I just wanted to put what I just wrote into layman terms.

At any rate, what's more important to me now isn't whether God exists or not. It's surviving the semester.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On freedom of speech

I would like to direct your attention for a moment elsewhere on the blogosphere.

Currently, a witch hunt of sorts is occuring all over LiveJournal, which, being prompted by Warriors for Innocence (the link is here, but please don't click, there are rumors that the site has a lot of malware and IP address tracking on it), has decided to purge all accounts and communities that are even remotely related to pedophilia, in an attempt to track down potential sexual predators. Because anything I summarize will most likely be incomplete, I direct you to this link over here for further information.

Here now, I will cross-post my opinion from my own LiveJournal. The original entry can be found over here.

So what the hell, all of a sudden there's a witch hunt going on 'round LJ? O_o wtf mate. From what I've just read up on, apparently the targets are fandoms and RP comms that have anything to do with stuff like pedophilia and other sexual subjects prohibited by the United States law and such. I haven't read everything, nor do I quite understand it all, but to my knowledge, the Internet, up until this very minute, is entirely free game, in the sense that it is not bound by the laws of any country. Which makes sense, because even if a website is based in a particular country, all it means is that the people behind the site are of [insert] nationality. This is, of course, simply taking out other variables in which laws may apply in the mix and soley concentrating on the Internet.

However, the main problem here is the fact that the freedom of speech amendment, an American amendment, is being horribly violated here. Blogs are a current trend that are beginning to extend out of the Internet, and subtlely replacing common forms of things like journalism and, well, freedom of speech. To start a witch hunt against people simply because they are interested in [insert sexual fetish], own LJ comms related to it, and have it listed in their interests is a matter of an individual's right to express themselves. In a world that's increasingly becoming smaller and more well-watched (hello Big Brother), the Internet's becoming a safe haven for any and everyone.

Take me for example, I'm an anti-government radical who dislikes capitalism and favors socialism. I'm also in favor of freedom of sexuality, since I myself am slowly realizing and learning that I do not love or like based on gender alone. Take that into the real world and what would happen? I'd get jailed under the Patriot Act and slandered for not being sexually "normal". On the Internet, though, I can express these thoughts freely, and that is exactly what's going under attack, the ability to freely express oneself. And LJ's team is too much of a pussy to fight back against that WFI group making them do this witch hunt. Might the WFI's intentions be good? Sure, what the hell. But they're going about it the wrong way. If they're trying to catch sexual predators and pedophiles and whatnot, the last thing you should be doing is persecuting anyone who just so happens to have it in their interests and participate in comms dealing with it. Why? Because most of them are not pedophiles at all, they just like it in their fandoms and fanfics.

So congratulations, instead of sniffing out the real sexual predators, you've made them go into deeper hiding. Let's hear it for misinformed people, Big Brother and people who refuse to properly inform themselves about the real matters at hand, because they sure as hell are winning the battle. Oh, and let's also congratulate our democratic government, they're doing a fantastic job of limiting and cutting away people's rights to "protect".

I could go on rambling, but I've said my thoughts. Once again, wtf mate.

(And note, as I said, I didn't read up everything, but am quite sure I got the gist of what's going on. If I'm wrong, please inform me.)

To summarize, what're the main problems here?

  • Violation of the primary right to freedom of speech. No, I don't like pedophilia fandoms, or anything of the sort. However, just because someone likes to read fanfictions and discuss oddball pairings does not mean they're potential sexual predators in disguise.
  • LiveJournal has most definitely crossed the line, by letting themselves be bullied by a third party site, without notifying anyone of this ridiculous witch hunt beforehand.
  • Finally, all of this constitutes as a violation of LiveJournal's Terms of Service.

All in all, congratulations Big Brother, you score yet another point.

Friday, May 25, 2007

On moving forward

So. It's been...a month, since I last wrote anything in this blog. I do apologize. I'm not sure if I've got an audience reading this anymore since I don't update this as regularly as I should, but this blog does exist for a reason. That, being to...uh, write and uh...stuff. Boy that was eloquent.

Anyhow, I've been busy. Among other things, I've been taking class, getting wasted, working out, flirting around, watching movies, relaxing, hanging out with my friends, and overall being your average college student/nerd who's also one of the guys. I didn't really intend for it to happen, but during the course of this semester, I've suddenly found myself becoming the "alpha-female" of the group I hang out with, which is usually a bunch of guys. I have female friends too, but I don't hang out with most of them, just a few. I don't really mind though, since I've long considered myself to not really have a mental gender per se. All I have is a sexual preference towards a particular gender, with occasional interest in the other gender. I don't know if this good or bad, since it doesn't really land me any decent dates, but I suppose it could be worse. I at least give it credit for contributing to my creative and out-of-the-box way of thinking.

So, as of now until the end of June, I'm at home on vacation. Much as I like my scholarly and social life, this is a much-needed break I needed. I did manage to do exceedingly well this semester, passing everything expect Estadísticas 1 (which I dropped) with an A. Kickass, if I do say so myself. But I also wanted this time to really sit and think about...well, what else, the one man I've fought tooth and nail to move on from all semester, my lovely ex. It's not to say I wasn't doing anything about this already. I moved back home for physical distance, I cut off contact, I cut my hair short so as to symbolically spit into his belief that women with short hair are dykes, I've hooked up with a few random men to prove to myself that I could be with men without emotional attatchments, I've made new friends, I started working out...the vast majority of what I did, and didn't do, this semester was so I could move the fuck on.

Yet, something was still amiss, despite my efforts. I didn't know what though. To be sure, I held (hold?) a huge grudge against him, and couldn't even think about him without wishing nothing but horrible misery on his existence. But no matter what I did, I just couldn't feel free from him. It was like an invisible chain tied me to him and his memory, the memories I had of him. I suppose it was there for a lot of reasons, but mainly, it was because he was the first guy I could honestly say I loved. Hurrah for true love. But he meant a lot of things to me, and getting over it took more effort than I would've ever liked. I just didn't get myself, really.

So, 'member when I mentioned getting wasted among the activities I mentioned up there? Yeah, so, a couple of weekends ago, to help celebrate the end of the semester, one of the things me and my friends did was buy alcohol and go to one of my friend's apartment and get drunk. Long story short, I did more than 12 shots of 151 rum, along with Smirnoffs and daiquiri and got totally smashed. The reason, though I wouldn't realize it until later, was because I found out that the guy I liked, Gian, had a girl of sorts. They were constantly making out. Much as I liked the girl, I wanted to shove her down some escalators. So I was trying to numb the pain out, go self-destructive tendencies. Anyway, during all that, I called up my ex, and finally said what I'd been dying to tell him for months: that I hate him and his guts and that I wish he'd just do me a favor and die off.

The next day, sobering up and whatnot, I remembered this (and a few other convoluted pieces, because shortly after that, I passed out). And I thought about it a little. I realized that, really, I wasn't actually mad at him anymore, nor did I hold that much of a grudge against him. In fact, all I was hating was the fact that my pride was hurt, and that my feelings were torn to shreds. And I realized, man I'm stupid, this is the invisible chain binding me down? All at once, that chain broke off and I became free as a bird once again, the way I should be. It felt (and still feels) pretty nice.

Since then, I've shaped up a bit. I'm not sleeping with anyone at all, not until I can be sure I'm in a good, actual relationship with a great guy. I'm taking my health seriously, doing all that I can to eat right and keep my blood sugar levels stable. I'm working out harder than ever, and the results are starting to show since I'm shedding the weight I gained this semester from my rampant drinking. And, once again, I feel like I can take on the world and fight anyone and anything till I make it to the top. I think my chances of getting married or being in another relationship are slim to none...but it doesn't matter too much to me at the moment anymore. I'll deal. Life is, after all, no cabaret.

On another note, I saw the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Twice. It's that good, I swear it is. I might write a review tomorrow or the day after.

Finally, I believe today is the one year anniversary of this dear blog of mine. I'm still alive and typing. That's always a good sign.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

On being me

I'm a nerd. Hands down.

I love things like Star Wars, some anime, some manga, all that stuff. I think I always have. I can sit here and talk about the Star Wars movies, and I could probably list off a few anime and manga series worth watching and reading.

I love love love video games. I've always been playing them, and I've always liked it. I play RPGs, fighters, weird stuff, shooters, platformers, action-adventure, strategy, rhythm, old-school, anything. It's fun, and I love playing multiplayer even more.

I am a product of the internet. It's not essential in my life, or something I can't live without. But it's definitely a source of entertainment for me. And I'm not afraid to admit that quite a few significant things have happened to me as a cause.

I love music. It's been a part of my life. I can't go a day without listening to something. My tastes have changed over the years, slowly molding to a like of general rock overall, mostly punk rock, some industrial and some experimental. I need to hear something with a beat, with instruments, loud and fast and hard. Some days, I need to hear something soft and sweet. Whatever the need, I just need to hear something.

I love writing. I don't think I've always been exceptionally talented until high school. But now that I've grasped the secret and discovered what my strengths in it are, I love it. I love the creative process of thinking up a story, its characters and the world they live in. I like being able to paint a picture with words. I like being able to bring people into a different world, and putting them into a character's shoes.

I love acting. It will always be my passion, no matter where life takes me. I get no better thrill than standing on stage and becoming someone else entirely. I love convincing the audience that I am that character. I love being able to project thoughts and emotions and a specific personality. I love letting who I am take a break for awhile while I decide to be someone else. I love impressing the crowd. I just love it all.

I'm not religious at all. I don't believe in the institution of religion. Who or what I believe in is my business. If God indeed exists, then we'll have our talk when the time comes.

I do not associate myself with political parties, ever. I associate myself with political ideals and theories, and I support people who can match those the best.

I am a tomboy. I think I was just born that way. I like guy stuff, like games and computers and joking and drinking and screwing around. I like being one of the guys.

Though I have female friends I love dearly, overall I can't stand the female sex. The female sex is superficial and constantly working to be a certain way socially, and I don't like that. I don't think fashion's necessary, I don't think I need a guy to be worth something, I'm not a slut for believing in casual sex and fuck buddies. I can think for myself, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

I am a bitch. No getting around that. If I don't like you, I'll tell you. If you're a jackass who should get a life, I'll tell you. I'll insult you, I'll give you sarcastic responses, I can cut you with my sharp tongue and fast wit. And I won't care.

But, I'm also the nicest person you'll meet if you're on my good side. I will put myself out there for my friends, always. If you've got my trust, then I've definitely got your back. And I will be loyal.

I don't really hate anyone. I just dislike.

I have big dreams and ambitions, and I know I'll achieve them.

I look up to my older brother, always have. He's helped me not be as much of a fuck-up as I could've been.

My friends are my family. No matter if I've known them for a month or for years.

There's nothing I like more than being able to laze around, with no worries about what might come ahead.

Honestly, I think love can go fuck itself. There's no such thing as the one. I can content myself with having good friendships. That's more important in the long run than a relationship that falls apart in the end and destroys what once was.

To contradict what I just wrote, I am still capable of feeling things that are more than just friendship for people.

I like two people, which I realized the other day. If I could have them both, I would. But I think it would be best we just remain friends.

I'm not ashamed to admit my mistakes.

I'm not ashamed to admit that going to Chicago wasn't the best idea ever. But I also admit that it was the best thing to do, for all the reasons I wouldn't have expected. I proved my point, I learned that I'm not a fuck-up, and I discovered that I have the ability to change myself.

I tripped and fell, hard. I'm not ashamed to admit that for a couple of months, it felt as though I'd been left at the roadside, barely able to walk, and with almost no desire to live. But, what little will to live I had left helped me slowly, surely, crawl slowly back, until I could finally stand up again, head high and ready to live again.

It took awhile, but I finally put the pieces of my heart back together.

I have a slight distaste for humanity but I like being with people.

I'm a lot of things. I'm a bitch, stubborn, sarcastic, aloof, fun-loving, introspective, outgoing, stupid, silly, intelligent, apathetic, loyal, witty, cute, flirty, funny.

At the end of the day, though, when I kick off my shoes and throw myself on my bed, I'm just me. Love me or hate me, I don't give a fuck.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

On writing

So I recently completed a new short story, and I figured it'd be cool to share. Please note, if anyone steals it and I find out, I will reign misery on you. It's already copyrighted under my pen name over at Fiction Press.

Ice Cream

I could hear a noise in the background, the same one for the fifth time in a row. I turned around. 7:05am, read my clock. Guess it ignores the fact that I hit the snooze button after awhile. But goddammit, I really didn’t want to get up. Then again, when do I ever want to get up? It’s the same old thing, day after fucking day. I looked up towards the window blinds. Already the sun was starting to peek in. As always, the sun refuses to go against my own wishes. But I’d already had it up to here with that alarm clock, so I figured that it was either get up and finally start the day or break the clock, and I didn’t really want to waste more money on more clocks. So I shut off the alarm, and got up from the bed.

As I looked on the date of the calendar, I saw that it was the sixteenth of July. I tried my best to remember what was so important about today, but nothing seemed to light a spark in my head. It can’t be that important if I can’t remember, I thought to myself. So I simply shrugged it off and went about the tedious process of dressing and eating. Though I couldn’t remember why today might be important, I did manage to realize that I’d been sleeping for one day straight. I guess that’s what happens when you come home completely fucked up from that previous night’s wild adventures. That’s all my life seems to revolve around nowadays: sleeping, trying to go to class or work, and getting fucked up. It’s all I can bring myself to do anymore.

But finally, I fixed the last piercing back where it belonged, grabbed my bag, and walked out the door. I might not have much to look forward to, but maybe the effort might count for something.

Well, that’s what I thought. As I arrived to work, I noticed that something was out of place, though at first, I wasn’t sure what it might be. My coworkers regarded me differently, almost as though I didn’t belong there anymore. That couldn’t be a good sign. As I put my things away, I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Can we talk, Alex?”

This really wasn’t a good sign, but then again, there was no way I could weasel out of this one. For a few weeks, I’d been hearing that the manager wanted to speak to me (or more like, corner me and kill me for all the times I’ve skipped out on work), so I’d been trying to dodge the guy. But it seems that today, he finally caught me.

“Have a seat,” he said to me as I entered his office, gesturing towards the empty chair. I took his suggestion and sat down. “Look,” he said as he sat down in his own chair, “I’m going to be frank. Yesterday was the tenth time you haven’t shown for work without even excusing yourself. I can’t have this. I hired you because your sister begged to me practically on her knees.” He took a long, deep sigh, and shook his head. “But I can’t keep you on anymore. I’m going to have to let you go.”

I looked down at my Converse the whole time. To be honest, it’s not as though I hadn’t seen this coming. And yet, even as I told myself I needed to start being responsible and start going to work, I just couldn’t bring myself to. Here, then, was where it all came crashing down over me. So it was a wake-up call. I was finally starting to wake up and open my eyes a little. But it still didn’t seem so bad to me. It was summer, and class would start in about a month. It should matter to me that I no longer had a job, but all I did was shrug it off.

As I walked out of the building, I reached into my pocket for my cellphone. If anything, I did feel bad for my sister, so I figured that it should at least be me to tell her I’d just been fired.


“Hey, sis.”

“Oh, hey Alex. What’s wrong? Shouldn’t you be at work?”

I sighed. This wasn’t going to be pretty. “Yeah, about that. Uh, look…I’m really sorry, I am, but…well, I got fired.”

There was silence for awhile. I checked the phone’s screen to be sure the call hadn’t been dropped.

“Alex, you know I do my best for the both of us. And it took me an unbelievable amount of persuasion to convince Kurt to hire you. And this is how you repay me? Look, you know what, forget it. Don’t call me anymore, I’m sick of this. What on earth am I going to do with you?” Click. I slipped my phone back in my pocket.

That’s okay sis. I don’t know what to do with me either. So if you don’t know, it’s not a problem. What am I supposed to do with myself? I just didn’t see the point in…well, in the day to day living, in life, in anything. How am I supposed to figure this out if I can’t bring myself to care? I wish I could care a little about something, but it just hasn’t been the same.

Well, I thought, maybe I should grab some food. That might make me feel better. I looked into my wallet, to see how much I had. Except that I didn’t have any money on me at all. I even checked the change pocket. Nothing. I just remembered that today was pay day, but since I hadn’t shown my face to work in a week, I probably didn’t even have a paycheck. So not only did I not have a job anymore, but I had no money. And I know my debit card had nothing on it either. Great, this was just great. I could go back to my dorm, but why bother? There was nothing to do there, and I probably had little to no edible food.

So, I was jobless, broke, and it seemed that I was now sister-less. At least my parents aren’t alive, because otherwise they could disown me too. And I didn’t even want to think about Marie.

After walking for awhile, I finally decided to sit down on a bench. I looked at my watch. It read 5:18 in the afternoon. I guess I’d been drowning myself in my self-inflicted misery for so long that I lost track of time. I wasn’t even exactly sure where I was in the city. Looking at a sign or two would fix that, but I didn’t really care at the moment. All I wanted to do was sit and just stop thinking. If I kept thinking about it all, I just knew that it’d really come crashing in on me.

Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Here.” I looked up. A young woman was standing next to me, smiling kindly and holding out a cone of ice cream. I wondered what time it was, since the sun was already half-done setting over the tall city buildings, but honestly, I didn’t care to even look at my watch anymore. What was far more intriguing at the moment was this random woman, who was pretty damn good-looking to begin with, offering me some free ice cream. Well, I was broke and hungry, so maybe this was just a little bit of luck. Or maybe the ice cream was poisoned. So I reached out and grabbed the strawberry ice cream that was seemingly being offered to me for free.

“Thanks,” I said quietly.

“I’ve been watching you sitting out here by yourself and you looked pretty sad,” she said as she sat down next to me. “And ice cream is always great to make people feel better.” Paying a bit more attention, she looked like she could be in her mid-twenties, young and vibrant. It was the total opposite of how I felt about life at the moment. “So tell me, what are you doing here anyway?”

I shrugged. “Wasting time. I don’t really have anything else to do, to be honest.”

“Come on, you look like you’re younger than me, how can you say something like that?”

“Well, it’s not like I’ve got anything to live for.”

Silence hung in the air for a few moments. I wondered if maybe my intense depression was clouding things up and scaring her off. I didn’t really care though. She asked, so I answered. This ice cream was pretty damn good though.

“Did you lose it?”

I looked at her. “Huh? Lose what?”

“Your reason for living…did you lose it somewhere?”

I hesitated. The answer probably hurt more to say than anything else, because I could never bring myself to say it. “A long time ago I did. But that’s done and over with. It’s not like it matters anymore.” And I realized I still wasn’t ready to really say it. I didn’t have the courage to yet.

Lifting a hand, she brushed some hair out of my eyes. The nice thing about my hair was that it just fell into place no matter what. Life, however, had proved to be the exact opposite of my hair. “Have you tried to find a new reason yet?”

“No. I can’t seem to find something.”

“Well, that doesn’t mean you should quit. As long as you’re still walking, talking and breathing, that means you’re not allowed to quit and stop trying. The reason you’re looking for might not be all that apparent right now, but if you’re able to sit here, eating free ice cream, wasting a valuable day away, you can also find your answer.”

I wondered. Had I not quit already? Somehow, I could’ve sworn that I’d just thrown the towel in on that day, giving myself up for dead pretty much. What should stop me from not quitting yet?

“How’s the ice cream?” she asked.

“It’s pretty good,” I said as I finished the last bit of it.

“If you can still enjoy something as simple as ice cream, you’ve still got it in you to find your reasons and your own answers.” She stood up, smiling again. “So promise me you’ll come by my shop again,” she said, pointing in front of her. The entire time I’d been sitting in front of an ice cream store, and I hadn’t even noticed.

I smiled. “Sure.” I felt my pocket to see if I had any change. Wishful thinking… I thought to myself. “Would you happen to have any change you could lend me? It’s for the bus home. I don’t want to walk…”

She laughed. “Here,” she said, handing me a few quarters. “That should get you where you need to go.”

“Thanks,” I said as I stood up. “This’ll really help me out.” I walked away, towards the next bus stop, waving behind me. Oddly enough, I felt a bit more lighter than usual. Or maybe the ice cream was just that good. I guess I would probably need to come back eventually.

I pushed the glass door open, not thinking about it too much. A few days had passed, and somehow, I’d felt compelled to come back here. Looking around, that young woman was nowhere to be seen, so I simply looked through the glass counter, at the different ice cream flavors the store had to offer. There was everything from simple flavors like vanilla and chocolate to strangely enticing combinations like mint Oreo and fruit punch. Seeing all these offerings made me wish my financial status were a bit more stable so I could buy something. From a short distance, I heard a jingle of sorts.

“So you’re back,” said that vibrant woman to me, smiling. “I was hoping I’d see you again.”

I looked at the clock behind the counter. It read 8:15pm. Since I was jobless, penniless and it was still summer, I had nothing better to do than to walk from my dorm room all the way here. When not screwing around, I had a relatively boring life.

“I was bored,” I replied off-handedly. “And when I realized that I had no money to actually buy more ice cream, I was already almost here anyway.”

She smiled again. “Don’t worry about it, have another cone on the house. I’ll join you this time. Oh…” She looked out the window. I followed in suite, and realized that it’d just started to rain. “Oh well, we can eat in here. Sit while I get the ice cream ready.”

Obediently, I found a two-person table right next to the window. I always thought the city looked more surreal at night, and especially when it was raining. The water would just pour over it all, blurring everything sight, making things seem less real than they should be. It reminded me of my life, which was nothing but a day-to-day basis of unreality.

“Here you go,” she said, mimicking her gesture from a few days earlier as she gave me my ice cream. “It’s cotton candy this time.” I took a lick. It really did taste like cotton candy, only better since it was less sweet. As she sat down, I noticed the woman had vanilla ice cream.

“So tell me,” she said, “what’s your name?”

“It’s Alex,” I said as I swallowed. “And yours?”

“Just Ren.” It seemed like a very simple name for someone so seemingly profound, but it fit her quite well.

“So tell me,” she said as she slowly ate her ice cream, “anything new in life?”

“Not really,” I said as I shook my head. “I guess I’ve just been wasting this impromptu free time. I have no job, I have no money, and class doesn’t start again for another month.”

“You’re a student?”

“In college, I suppose.”

“What do you major in?”

“Graphic arts, specializing in drawing. It’s really the only thing I’m honestly good at, even if my art’s lacked inspiration or beauty for years.” I shrugged. “I mean, it still meets my professors’ standards, and people think it’s really great stuff. But to me, it’s nothing special. Nothing about anything I’ve done since I started has impacted me, and I really hate it.”

“Does it have anything to do with not finding your reason?” she asked.

“I guess.” I continued to eat my ice cream thoughtfully. This was honestly the best stuff I’d eaten in awhile. It was just right, not too soft or hard, not too sweet or devoid of sweetness. It was a perfect balance of everything that made ice cream great, and it made me both appreciate Ren’s kindness and enjoy this sort of treat for once.

“What was your reason?”

“It’s not important anymore.”

“It is if you basically have no life in you anymore.”

I hesitated, focusing my attention on the streets outside. Perhaps for showing me kindness twice without really knowing me, it might be worth it to tell her. She is asking me, at any rate, and I guess it would be rude to say no.

“My parents died when I was very little. I barely knew them. My older sister, who was sixteen at the time, basically took care of me and my twin sister afterwards, even when we moved in with a single aunt of ours. If not for her, I would be worse than I am now. But even more important was my twin sister. We were inseparable, always. Whatever she did, I did, wherever I went, she went. We always knew what the other was thinking, and we always had each other’s backs.”

The outside seemed to blur more. I could almost feel myself slipping between my unreality and what was actually going on outside.

“It was funny, because I was the one who could draw, and she was the one who could sing. Her voice was beautiful, always. It always cheered me up. All I had to do was look at Marie, and she’d sing for me. Clara loved it too. Even though we loved each other very much, there were things that I never knew about Marie though, and they became more apparent as we got older.”

Now my voice was shaking. I didn’t want to keep going, but my voice couldn’t stop at all.

“One day she was fine…and the next, she wasn’t. I didn’t know she had that…that disease. I never quite knew how she got it, but I can imagine. We were fifteen at the time, and there were days that she wouldn’t come home, or answer her phone. But she was still fine. It was just a cold. It shouldn’t have been so bad. But it was, and there was nothing I could do. I’d see her at the hospital every day, and I’d talk to her, and I’d tell her of all the new sketches I did so she could see them when she woke up, but she never woke up, she never opened her eyes again, and I never heard her voice again even though it was all I wanted even though it was all I lived for and she’s gone and I just don’t know why I’m still alive and she’s not!”

All of it, all of those words and a whole lot more just stumbled out before I could stop myself. Or more like, I couldn’t stop myself. It was all a bunch of bottled up feelings that I’d been carrying around for so long. I never said any of this to anyone, not even Clara. I stayed silent at the funeral. And for the next five years I’d simply detached myself from most everything in life. All this lead me here: in an ice cream shop, past 8pm, with a woman I barely know, confessing my life story, with my life completely in shambles. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was why on earth had I not killed myself yet.

“Hey, come on, calm down…” I felt her hand on my shoulder. It seemed to be pulling me back to the reality I’d so wanted to return to. It felt so good. I wasn’t sure how long I was there in that chair, face buried in my arms, almost incomprehensible. After awhile, I just remembered getting up, that hand of hers guiding me out the door and to her car, and at some point, walking into her apartment and falling asleep on her couch.

After a few hours, I woke up, a bit startled. But then I remembered what’d happened. I looked at my watch. It read 12:11am. I sat up, and saw Ren sitting on a chair, illuminated slightly by a soft lamp next to her. All of a sudden, I had a great idea. Getting up quietly, I grabbed a piece of paper in the kitchen, a pencil, and a sturdy phone book. Sitting back down just as quietly, I contemplated this relaxed Ren. She honestly was beautiful, simple in her appearance, with short black hair, a simple white dress, and a pair of sandals. It contradicted my own appearance: chin-length blue hair (dyed of course), a vintage punk rock shirt, studded jeans and Converse sneakers, plus a multitude of piercings.

Smiling to myself, I put pencil to paper and began to draw first the face...

…and finally done, I looked at it. It was beautiful, just like Ren. It actually meant something, the first sketch to mean something since Marie died. I liked it. Signing it, I wrote a note on the back as I got up.

Ren, thanks for listening. Enjoy the drawing.

P.S. I also…borrowed some change so I could get back home. I’ll pay you back.

I opened the door of the shop. It was 9:14am on a Sunday, a couple of weeks after I’d last seen Ren. Being summoned by the door’s jingle, I could see Ren’s form walk in.

“Well well, if it isn’t Alex. What brings you here so early?”

I smiled. “I wanted some ice cream. Plus, I kinda owe you money,” I said as I pulled out a few dollar bills.

“Don’t mention it,” she said, taking them. “So what’ll it be?”

“I’ll take a double-scoop strawberry. I need to do some late celebrating.”

“Oh? What was the occasion?” she asked as she gave me my cone.

“My birthday. That day you gave me ice cream over in front of the store was my birthday. I’d completely forgotten until the other day, and since Friday was payday, I figured I’d come by and treat myself a little.”

“Well, in that case, have this on the house too,” she said happily. “I’m glad to hear you have a new job.”

“Yeah, it should tide me over.”

“That’s good. I’m glad.”

I took a lick of my ice cream. It was just as delicious as the first time around.

“Have you found it?”

I looked at her. I noticed her eyes were blue. It matched her perfectly.

“No. But I may as well try now.” I hesitated, not sure if I could say it, but figured, what the hell. “Thank you.”

She smiled. I loved that smile of hers now. “Thank you for that sketch.”

I turned towards the door, waving behind me. “I’ll be back soon…when I find my answer.” I walked out of that ice cream shop, down the sidewalk. I couldn’t say everything was right and perfect again, and I didn’t think it would be for awhile. This isn’t some movie, after all.

But the ice cream was, as usual, practically perfect.

Monday, April 16, 2007

On not quitting

And so I thought about it. On Saturday, while walking around Plaza, I realized that I've been feeling incredibly lonely. Strangely enough, I should've realized it on Friday night because, thanks to the magic of alcohol, the truth sorta slipped out. But it was in a way that I didn't really think about it until I was sober the next day. And I didn't think I was that drunk either. Man I'm a lush. But at least I've got good friends.

Anyway, I thought about it. I made a few promises to myself at the beginning of the semester. I told myself that this year would not be like last year. 2006 sucked overall, so I wanted 2007 to be different. I told myself I would be different from who I was. And I told myself that I didn't need love and that I would not like anyway. For the most part, it's been going just as planned. 2007 so far has been so much better than 2006. I mean, it's had its ups and downs, but isn't that normal? It makes me normal, at least. I'm slowly trying to be a different person, a better person, and I think I've done a good job on that. But I broke my last promise twice, falling for two different guys, both of whom I shouldn't have liked in the first place. They're great guys, and they're great friends too, but anything beyond that is something that should not be contemplated. As my friend Maru puts it, they're fun to flirt with, fun to hang out with and are good friends, but other than that, don't even bother. Well, I won't lie, I wouldn't mind sleeping with either of them. But then, I can separate casual sex from serious emotions, I've never had a problem there.

And so I thought about it. I like someone I shouldn't. I'm very lonely. I feel like there's nothing good left for me in life right now. On the bus back (and let's think for a moment, hot damn, I actually caught a bus?), these thoughts just came to me: "Is there nothing left for me in life? Will I never be swept off my feet again? Will I ever mean more to him, or to any guy for that matter? Have I reached the end of the line? Is this all life has to offer me?" If not for the fact that the bus wasn't empty, I probably would've cried right there. I just waited till I was on the train, since it was empty where I was.

And so I thought of my options. Apparently I'm not allowed to kill myself, and I'm also not allowed to quit. So what can I do? Well, part of me wants to just disappear and die quickly. But you know what? I'm not going to listen to that part of me. That part of me needs to shut the fucking hell up. I'm a lot stronger than that. Hell, my strength of character and strength of heart are my defining characteristics. I shouldn't let my current place in life shoot me down, not by a long shot. I've survived everything life's thrown at me up until now, and I'm almost 20, still alive and kicking. I'll get through this point, and I'll be laughing and pointing saying haha.

Another thing? I won't like him anymore either. In fact, I can already feel those thoughts floating away and fizzling out. Sure, I didn't want that to happen with this guy now, but I have no choice. I don't mean much of anything to him anyway. He might like me as a friend, and that's okay, that's great. I don't mind that one bit and I can totally live with that. It'll be the same as the guy I liked before. I'll just have them both as good friends to flirt with and laugh with and I'll be happy with that. I'm already happy with the thought, so I can do this no problem. I'll feel awkward on Tuesday when I see him again, but I can deal. It'll only last for some minutes, and the transition will be smooth and happy. Hell, I feel even better than sleeping on all this made me feel when I woke up in the morning. Besides, he proved to be a good friend that night. He didn't let me drink more after I was completely buzzed, he gave me a hug, and he was still nice to me overall. I can't ask for more than that.

And finally, I think it's high time I get back into the game. It's been awhile since I've wrapped a heart or three around my bitchy finger, and I feel I need to do it again. Not next weekend, since I'm going home, but the weekend after, I think I'll just go out to Viejo San Juan or Rio Piedras and work my way around men, see who'll fall into my traps. I don't want to date anyone anymore, because romance and love make me sick right now. I just want to prove to myself I'm still perfectly capable of being a heartbreaker. I'm really done being a stereotypical heart-broken, lonely female, and I want to get back to being who I am usually. So props to me. I do need to get myself laid anyway.

Right now, I think I'm okay again. I feel I've reached another turning point in life, and this time, it'll be towards something better, not something worse. If I think about it like that, life's great now. I'll be fine. As I said, I've got great friends now. And I've always said that I love my friends more than anything, no matter how long I've known them. And God must be in a pretty good mood to help me find friends that actually care about me. If I can keep this, I'll be totally fine for as long as I need to be.

Life is good. It still has more to offer. I can't throw in the towel yet. I am, indeed, lonely, but I'm not ready to quit.