Fuckless and Younged

by Sankage Steno

When you see life passing you by, you get to feel dread. It’s all in-house, right at the core of your soul. The normality other people see in you, no matter how unique you may appear to those who seem to know you no further than your Facebook posts, is but a façade, a portico, a veneer to the sheltered angst that you may have consciously or otherwise nurtured inside of you.

E.g., there’s this friend I used to hang out and laugh out loud with from way back in grade school. We weren’t that close though, if I were to compare the intimacy of our friendship with those who knew me too well and vice versa, but we considered ourselves buddies. He’s married now, and with a beautiful baby. I never imagined that this guy, this guy(!), who used to bother me during classes and sometimes brought me into trouble would become this doting, ultra-proud father.

It is heartening, and dreadful too. For my part at least.

Then there’s this intelligent lady whom I really admire and even idolize. Back when we were still studying, I never saw in her the ability to love another homo sapiens sapiens. Only an alien or an android, I believed then, could fancy her tralala. I mean, stereotypically speaking, if you’re full of brains, you most probably lack the requisite muscles to flex your heart. But you know what, maybe I was never that good in anatomy to begin with because, lo and behold, she’s got a boyfriend. And they’ve been together for like half a decade now perhaps. Worse (for my part again, not hers), she’s still studying… for her nth degree.

Whoever told me that smart people are bad lovers should be gargling saltwater right now. No. Make it saltwater with sea urchins and a box jellyfish. That person should be nailed to the cross.

Last preamble to my point: my dearly beloved siblings. They’re almost all grownups now. I know children grow fast—that’s what wizened parents tell beginners all the fucking time—but never did it cross my mind that brothers and sisters also mature exponentially, like yesterday times 10 to the power of your favorite odd number. It really feels odd.

It felt like it was just months ago that I was wiping one of my siblings’ ass after pooping and my parents were both out at work, making a living for us, and relatives were busy busying themselves over god-knows-what. My sibling was shouting “Tapos na!” and I was like, “Shit.” So there was only me, the ever dutiful and squeaky-clean elder brother, to do the dirty job (pun intended). I know caregivers call it gold-digging. It was all crap for me. And now look! S/he’s graduating and got a vibrant love life too. Curse you, universe!

These… these things don’t make me feel old. Nope. That’s not a problem for me. In fact, I’m itching to get old. Honest. What loosens my screws and screws me at the same time is my one-stratum-short-of-self-actualized life. Joni Mitchell was right, I really don’t know clouds and love and life at all. Sooner or later, it’s going to be Florante who’ll be singing inside my head, rubbing my synapses with his lyrics telling, tatanda at lilipas din ako. Only I don’t have a song to leave behind, just tuneless words.

Or maybe not. Maybe I know life quite well that I intuitively choose not to take part in it. It’s like getting a box of chocolate, and knowing that you already know you’ll never know what you’re gonna get, you simply choose not to open it. And that’s why you don’t get any (or I don’t get any). I hope I didn’t confuse you back there in those last two sentences. Feel free to re-read that part. Again and again until you get my groove.

I tend to think that I hate labels, but I suppose I fall right smack into this non-conformist thingamabob. It’s not like I dreamed to become like this as a child. It just happened, like shit. Now and then, I see myself leaping to directions most people probably find divergent, making decisions that differ with the rest of my known world, or trying out not-so-knew things but never previously done by peeps I know. It’s like, me first then ikaw naman or maiba taya, and I’m always taya. What’s up with that?

This is most evident with my kin. I would constantly find myself at odds with the belief system in my house. It drives me to disagree rather insanely whenever they do a thing that’s just so 13th century A.D. or plain irrational, i.e., ostracizing someone bitten by a stray dog instead of taking him to the hospital. So I pirouette 540 degrees and let it pass if I can’t help it. (It’s vague, but I certainly hope you do get the feel somehow.) Sometimes I question myself if this is where I truly belong, but I easily shrug it off because I know this is where I belong. There’s nothing wrong with examining one’s life, is there?

I remember commenting this recently on a blog I follow: We’re floaters. To be precise, it’s like this: Hey, you wanna start a business? And I’m like, sure, why not? You want to go to this far, far away destination? Sure, why not? Let’s do try this out, you game? Sure, why not? If I were to die tomorrow and have the opportunity to write an epitaph on my grave, it’s going to be those three words: Sure, why not?

And that’s how I would describe my life right now—a series of sure-why-nots.

Sometimes YOLOing devalues life, making it superficial, as far as I’m concerned.

I don’t know.

It’s 2a.m., and all I hear is the whirring fan and the ticking clock. It’s probably doing something bizarre in my head, like getting drugged or hypnotized. A while ago I was feeling terrible for having to go back to work again. Now I feel pain in my neck. I’ve had too much of an examined life; I should try ignorance next. I heard it’s bliss. I’ve written more than a thousand words just to ask myself a question that’s been asked by human beings (and has remained unsatisfyingly answered) for thousands of years… What is life?

Show, don’t tell.