"Maging happy ka naman," Kat wrote. "Emo is overrated."
But it's inevitable, that I'll find something, err, sentimental about the just-concluded retreat during the weekend. Better yet, bitter. Probably it's the fatigue setting in, but as I told Jenn last night, I have (sort of) reverted to my emotions during my frosh year - that of being the last one chosen for anything. Back to thinking as to whether I have failed somewhere, whether I'm just not good enough for anyone, whether changing sections and risking losing a bed is worth it. Apparently it wasn't.
Props to me, though. I have been to six overnight school activities and one recollection, and I was bound to mess everything up. I always had something groundbreaking to say, something that'd startle the population, and I have always risked making a fool out of myself, or making myself more of an outcast or anything. But I kept silent through the two days. The closest I got, probably, was a conversation with Loui at the chapel, while everyone was waiting for their turn at the confessional, and some were crying before they could even ponder. She thought I got too serious. My voice, on the other hand, was deep and raspy.
What Burton shared to us was something interesting. This retreat wasn't like anything else he's been to. I agree with him - it was very introspective, for one. Maybe that helped - no space for tearjerkers and I'm-sorry-I-did-this statements - because they are actually setting up us for graduation. Rather than we carry around bonds that never break, that eventually ruin our productivity when we get a proper employment, we are instead asked to look into the future and see ourselves as contributors to the country's progress. Of course, we also have to make our alma mater proud. That, or we show up at every UAAP basketball game after graduation.
The idea for our pink cartolinas is to be given words of encouragement by people that we barely know. Jackie's efforts, however, to make a block reunion out of section A60 meant it was our game, to the chagrin of two who found themselves in our section - Nico, who apparently was my classmate last term, and Mai, another classmate of mine from way back who's better known as one of Icka's closest friends. (There were others though - Cor brought Kayette and Ahza along, and Kizia brought Sam.) What ended up getting written were inside jokes and the token I-hope-you-had-fun lines for the ones outside. Jason's baby photo got "criticized" because it doesn't look like him, for one. Insert plethora of inside jokes.
That doesn't mean to say I didn't appreciate what got written on mine. It's a mix of groups - one group, another group, and the ones chosen last - but essentially they're the same things. Basically it felt like I haven't really changed, which is ironic because I just told Loui the opposite the night before. Differently phrased, similarly appreciated, similarly mind-numbing.
"Sometimes we take the small things for granted," Huey wrote. "Breathe for a while."
And maybe I have. My half-complaint about the supposed "block bonding" was that the same groups bonded. That's what three years does, probably - how the heck would you relate to their inside jokes if you never knew them from the start? Nobody wants to look out anymore, much more reach out. I got to sleep early, at least, and regret going out of the conference room before everybody took photos of each other, keeping that particular afternoon converted to kilobytes of data. I wasn't talking much, because there essentially was no one to talk to - Marcia's gang for meals, Mai for mornings, myself during solitude. Nothing else to expect. No surprises.
But what about the small things? Twenty-one people wrote on my pink cartolina, some marveling at how cute I was during my infancy. There were the photos. There were the small conversations. There were the things I'd usually take for granted because I was looking for something big to happen. I have basically contradicted myself, it seems. My big realization, in line with the retreat's Christian orientation, is that God is present in everything that has happened to me - but I was right in stating that I'm too weak to notice it.
I almost wanted to think that everything, however, is a cruel coincidence. I didn't get a room because, despite text reminders, nobody got me a room. I eventually slept in a dormitory (simply said, a common bathroom) with Keane and Jay, because there were a handful more people who somehow floated between rooms, or didn't make it to last week's, or just never got to. "Parang sinadya," I blurted to myself as I went to the LSPO to confirm. I happen to love these things, by the way, but not the way they always have me at the receiving end. I wonder if they laugh at the thought of that? Oh, wait - they forgot all about it.
But it's the paranoia that powers everything. When you see people in an entirely different environment, you react differently. The best I could do is "get involved" and look like a fool in the process. Thankfully my performance passed my standards, and everything seemed normal.
Almost everyone thanked me in the pink cartolina. Maybe that's all they can do. Never returned the favor even if we're not supposed to ask for it, much more wait in silence - but the ones in the receiving end obviously want their slice of the pie, as a sign of their weakness. Flat out weakness, folks. You can't blame anyone if it happens. I guess it's human nature. I'd probably think that I'm just being used by people who would've probably forgotten about so many deadlines if not for my reminders during our first year. Or I'm not seeing the small things, as Huey thought. Then again, I enjoy running so much.
But why is it like that? Have I not exactly let go of things? "Stop being bitter," Marcia wrote. "Let's move on." But it's hard moving on when it still affects you up to now. I concede that nothing will change about it, because it has happened, and I instead try to think that it was better or else I'd become a juvenile delinquent, pending permission to exaggerate. And yet I should've always thought about what Clarence said - "we will always love you!" - but it never shows. Am I on the receiving end, anyway? I guess I always wanted to see everything just to realize that it is true.
"Learn to love yourself first," Kizia wrote, "then everything will fall into place."
I guess I'm just pushing myself too hard. Or I wonder why she had to write using pink ink on a pink cartolina. Maybe everybody is right - I do have to move on, or else I pain my eyes trying to read what's written, and figuring out what exactly it means. So that probably states I live in a time warp, floating about and all that, thinking that all is wrong with me because I haven't got anything to make me happy. Well, if my most shallow joys come from hearing my name on the radio regularly, talking to people I'd never think of talking to on a regular (and decent) basis, and reading all these handwritten notes...
Ale said one word. "Chill!" Nothing else.