By the numbers

I like pasta. Today my mother cooked up puttanesca - well, it's not exactly puttanesca, considering there aren't any anchovies and it's chunkier than usual. Tuna, olives, capers, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, that does the trick. I end up eating way more than I should, so much so that my mother would always warn me not to eat too much, especially at night. "You will have nightmares," she'd warn me. "You might die." She'd cite all these celebrities dying of bangungot, of how they had noodles before they went to sleep. Well, tonight, I will eat all the puttanesca I can handle, because it is my happy food.

"You think too much," Camille told me one afternoon. "They don't give a shit about you, so you shouldn't give a shit about them. Get it? May paranoid personality traits ka, I swear." I thought about it for a moment, and wondered if I really am just in the wrong circles, exposed to the wrong things, that sort. Or maybe me being potentially paranoid was just too, you know, heavy. Seeing those words felt like a judgment passed down from the heavens. This is how you'll be known from here on, the people up there will say. Yeah, maybe I'm just in the wrong circles.

I don't believe people when they say they have lost all faith in humanity. It's typical millennial exaggeration. There's this story of a particularly rude person, doing some disservice, something bad, solely because they don't give a shit, and automatically, they have lost all faith in humanity. And then someone does a good deed and boom! Faith in humanity restored. It's like, I don't know, Aylan. Nobody really cared about the refugee crisis until a dead kid washed up on shore and someone happened to take a photograph. "My heart is breaking," they all now have the urge to say. I guess it wasn't broken before.

I think I have cracked the reason why being "adorkable" still rules. Sure, Zooey Deschanel's shtick can be annoying in the long run, but in moderation being adorkable, whatever that means, gets you noticed, gets you showered with some sort of vague praise-like attention. There. I've cracked it. You only matter when you're cute and innocent and something. When you're confronted with attention, suddenly, you have to be an adult. Why do I have to be an adult, am I right?

I have not been getting enough sleep lately. I always have a lot of things to do. Often I fantasize about dropping everything and starting fresh, but it's looking impossible at the moment, or at any moment, for that matter. "I'll leave at the end of this year," I say, and they are all quick to express their disapproval. It's either because I'm a prized member of the team, or they're still not done squeezing all that they can squeeze out of me. Anyway, I try to sleep early some nights. A few days ago I slept at ten in the evening. Didn't even read my copy of The Escapist. I woke up at five in the morning the next day and I felt groggier than ever before.

"Sabi ng puso ko magtampo daw ako sa'yo, but pinipigilan ko." That was Rainy's text message to me last night. I feel terrible for not having a lot of time for her lately. It's not because she's back to work. It's because I have too much of it. I'm always away on a weekend, or occupied with something. My weekends are no longer weekends. For all I know I'd be asked to do something I absolutely don't want to do early on a Saturday morning. I never signed up for it, but do I really have a choice? I'd really rather spend a lot of time with her, just cuddling in a bed, talking to her and teasing her and hugging her. Alas, even that is hard to do at this rate.

Isn't it funny how, when someone asks for help, everybody who notices proceeds to pass you around? Ask this guy. No, this guy. Maybe this guy could help. Only when someone yields does the cycle end, momentarily. I don't know if it's because nobody is confident enough to really help out, or nobody has the time to commit? Or nobody wants to commit at all? Well, I guess it's enough to say "my heart is broken" online. I guess that works.

I wish she wasn't very nice the first time. I wish she was just, you know, professional and aloof. I wish she didn't take the time to say hello. I wish she was just, well, the distant person I first thought her to be. Now I see her change and I hate myself for thinking that we could be friends, when in fact there was absolutely no chance of that. I warned myself the first time. I always warned myself about that. We're no longer at the point when we make friends. We only make a network. I've seen it myself. We don't make friends. We make networks. Sure, we might drink beer with them, or go to gigs, or spend some time together, but in the end we just want something from them.

To be fair, all I want is for someone to really listen to me. I don't really have to say something outrageous to get attention, right? And often, it's the wrong kind of attention.

If I meet a therapist, I think I'll refuse the medicine. What's the point? It's just you popping a pill so you can be happy again. It's just masking the evidence, not fixing the problem. Well, you can always say the problem is an imbalance in the levels of your whatever, and popping a pill will fix that problem. Sure. Call it a physical problem. Say anything to expunge yourself of any responsibility, to, you know, be human. Yeah, true, you shouldn't give a shit about me, because I don't give a shit about you, right? Unless I want something.

One of the worst moments of my life happened six years ago, in a McDonald's, for breakfast. I was with my family. I don't know what I was ranting about - maybe something about my colleagues at my old jobs - but I was ranting, and it got so bad to the point that my brother, that asshole who thinks he's the greatest, says this: "At least ako, may kaibigan, hindi tulad mo." And then my father, to my surprise, backs him up. Blames me for not being able to make friends. "Ayusin mo kasi ang sarili mo! Makipag-usap ka kasi!" Somehow, when it comes to my difficulty in making real friends, it becomes my fault. Because I'm undesirable.

Let's see... I'm too negative. I'm too loud. I'm too annoying. I'm too smart. I'm too fired up about my thoughts. I'm too passionate. I'm too picky. I'm too much of a perfectionist. I'm too demanding. I'm too much to handle. That's just all I can think of in my head.

Frankly, I don't think I need a therapist. I don't need to get sucked into the whole system of paying someone to listen. I don't need to know what I have and what I might do. I'd rather not know. I don't want to worry that it would define me, that it would get in the way of me and the people I encounter. No. All I want is for someone to listen, and not just because I asked for it.

I have cried many times in the past three months than I have in the past three years. I left the house without permission for the first time in my life. I try to sleep a lot, knowing it would never be enough. I spend too much money on food, snacking between snacks. I sat on the corridor outside my office, in tears, banging my head against the wall, quietly wishing it would all be over soon. I have contemplated suicide. I'm not strong enough for that, though. I never was courageous. That isn't why they called me a chicken in elementary school, though. It's just because my name has "hen" on it.

I have always told my mother that I want to learn how to make puttanesca. Well, sure, the recipe is online, but I want to do it the way she does it. She'd tell me the recipe, but I'd then tell her that I'd want to try cooking it myself one time. That never quite happens. Maybe soon.

And your responses...

Hope your mom's puttanesca made you feel better! And no, you're not undesirable... people just don't know you, havent shared a conversation, or even a meal with you, so dont put the blame on yourself. :)

Blogger Jacqueline Uy9/07/2015     

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