to live in the cave

(Written on 2020/9/5)

The last time I blogged or put together a string of paragraphs together was years ago. It was not peppered by distractions, disjointed twitter thread cuts, and the exaltation of boredom. It was not in the depths of stan twitter, but also not tied to any exponential growth outside of my old bedroom. I now no longer type from the same house. That bungalow, which was on the brink of falling apart, has already been torn away from the family lineage. I am now a different person than I was before, in a sense that I now have lived in a different country, is earning a monthly income, paying for a car loan, and back hunched scrutinizing my bills. It is a dream already achieved, a practical dream, a dream to show that I finally belonged to my age group, that I am in some ways functional and not incomplete. In between the free time, when I was trying to gather my personal space among the crowd bustling in the LRT trains, my fingers tied to scrolling through twitter. I walked into another cave. 

Currently my bookmark rests after the surah Al-Kahfi, the cave. My bookmark requests this: “choose a medium that does not consume you. No check-ins, no tweets, no ads, no updates, no comment.” I have owned it for a decade, and yet the language is still similar, if not more pervasive now. We have seen how technology, or social media, has moved beyond our own grasps in the past few years, but we run around in the same system and in limited verbs. My inability to really communicate how I have felt in the past few years was due to the entanglement with the expectation of hard selling my identity. Can this sentence do its job? Can this sentence truly reach my target? Can this sentence, for once, not tied to a monetary gain but to personify the clot that I carry within my being? Again, I am circling the darkness of the cave. 

I am trying to understand where my resistance and the drought came from. They echo this: no one told you that depression would lead to memory loss. No one told you that depression would lead to muscle memory loss. No one told you that depression would erode you and your capability to build. Again, there is a need to reach a target. I admit that now that I have landed a job (and hit the one year mark! A milestone!), I have cried less. I could move through the day without truly losing it. But there are pockets of time where it crept up, such as now, when I wonder if I have done enough to really satisfy everyone in question. With every meeting, and now enhanced by the loss of body language, I find that my sentences never end, like pebbles sinking in the water after they realised that the ocean is too large for them to explore. And in this sinking I begin to ask myself if I am true, if I am alive, if I do have the power to truly carry this sentence I am about to ask. This is also my fear with my poetry (which is something I will talk about later). Again, I am afraid of the cave, and yet I am living in it. 

But I want to learn to live in the cave. Or even leave a mark, provide it light, give its rocks and crevices a new meaning. I want to befriend the cave. Yes, it has consumed me the moment that I was born, but I can chisel it to the shape I desired. The darkness of the cave should never carry only one meaning, which is fear – but the darkness should also carry the meaning of beginning, becoming, or even comfort. Again, I am questioning the cave, but I also want to transform it into a womb, a breathing warmth, a meaning that tells me I am worthy of rest, if not happiness. 

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