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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.





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Friday, August 29, 2014

entry arrow9:02 PM | Reminders for Life

Haruki Murakami once said something that rings true for me, and perhaps for anyone else who has battled the blues constantly in their lives. I call it the "blues," a common term, to give what I feel a softer conception: and yet to be honest, what I am talking about is a colourless, tremolous darkness with fangs. My comrades-in-arms who know this darkness intimately know that the only way to persevere -- if one can persevere at all -- is to let the frightful darkness run its course, like a fever, like a storm, like the awesome anger of catastrophes. It is not something you can tell yourself to snap out of, as if the mind is a puppet on strings and willpower is the cure. Willpower is a puny figure in the face of this darkness. And so, here is that Murakami quote: “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

August has been such a storm. It has been such a storm without reason, but it took me by surprise, and coddled me like a rabid dog. My dear friend Elle called it my "birthday blues," and perhaps it was so -- but it was just darkness for me.

And only now do I feel that darkness' tentacles release my mind little by little. Today most especially. Everything is clearer again, and I can see colour. And I behold all these with a tinge of sadness, which is the only way I can behold joy.

Today had started like just any ordinary day gripped in paralysis, the quiet kind that mistakes desperation for breathing. I can't even recall much what I did today. Did I wake up early? I did, but the bed refused to let me go until the middle of the day. Did I have lunch? I must have. But it was a late lunch, I am sure of this, and I had hurried along to KRI to sate pangs of hunger so intense I was practically sweating. The details of the day became sharper by then. I had some chicken dish, I am sure of that. And coffee. And by 4:30 PM, I found my feet leading me to the Udarbe Memorial Chapel in campus, to be with Margie and the Udarbe family as they commemorated the first anniversary of Dr. Proceso Udarbe's passing on. And while I sat in the very last seat of the back row of that chapel, I found Dr. Noriel Capulong's powerful message for the memorial service so touching, I found myself almost crying. It was as if I could feel Tito Proc's kind hands reaching out to me, penetrating the walls of the bowels of my own darkness, and telling me it was all right. Dr. Capulong talked about Tito Proc as somebody who persevered through so many trials and triumphs in life without much need for credit. Tito Proc found the uncelebrated, unacknowledged unfolding of him trying to become a leader at the most crucial times to be a blessing. I have been thinking about this for a year now, this necessity to lie low but to continue working for the dreams that you have -- and Dr. Capulong's recollection of Tito Proc's quiet courage only gave my rumination some solid foundation. And for that I am thankful.

And then I went to see Philip Noyce's adaptation of Lois Lowry's The Giver at Robinson's. It was not an important movie, but I found that its heart, like the beloved book, was in the right place. And it made me think about the importance of looking, and looking deep and seeing what's beyond. I think I have forgotten to do this in recent days -- no, months. It was important to be reminded of this again.

And so I tell myself: Always be grateful, Ian. And always be kind. And always be quiet when you can. And look. Look with the intensity of a beholder of some beloved. And be grateful. Be grateful above all for being loved.

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