So I’m currently sitting here in one of the high chairs of this vacant table in a generally vacant coffee shop.

The baristas perhaps know me already as I’ve been spending all my after work waking hours here, either finishing required readings for a quiz or formulating my conceptual framework or overhauling my questionnaire or wondering how the world would be if only we cared a little more for each other.

Perhaps they’ve also seen how the dark circles around my eyes have gone deeper too. As deep as how I’ve become all too attached to this particular topic I chose for my research paper.

And as what I’ve said, I’m here currently sitting on a high chair in a vacant table, listening to a single song over and over again, staring intermittently at my notes and at my survey results, and at my crisply printed required readings, then to my notebook, and the group of three people seated across me perhaps talking about a business idea, and finally to the kuya sitting alone beside them, listening to his phone, and back to my notes again.

I know, I’ve been reading too much academic papers. All that are in my head are either broad policy concepts or the factors that are involved in social dynamics or the economy of behavioral interactions.

And yet the universe is telling me now, however, to go back to the very reasons why I’m doing all of these in the first place. 😱

Last Sunday, I was in church and there was this old man who sat just two pews ahead, and he had a newspaper beside him neatly folded into quarters. In the middle of the priest’s homily, he stood up, walked a good few meters across the communion / passage space dividing the first and second half of the church pews and put the kneelers down.

After about 20 minutes, he stood up, walked across the aisle to the other side of the church, pushed the little table (where they usually put the bread and wine before offertory) to the side, and put the kneelers down too.

😕

I wonder how lolo (grandpa in Tagalog) subsists on regular days and if he lived alone. I wonder how many other old people like him have to deal with similar challenges every day too.

I wonder how many other “normal” seeming people live with one or two Mental Health problems without receiving any kind of decent support.

I wondered long and hard too if it had anything to do with my paper. 😐

Perhaps it did, and perhaps that was a timely reflection for me.

Although in as much as I want to do something meaningful before I leave this universe, the idea of stirring a little ripple in a vast ocean of confusion, and false needs, and faulty paradigms is just as exhilarating as much as it is terrifying – what if it goes wrong? And what if it doesn’t? What if it does start a change? And what if it won’t? What if it’s not worth it? 😐

I guess the lesson there is to just keep doing things however uncertain, however lofty, however big and daunting they may all seem to be. Because you never really know how much your little deeds will touch people.

I was reading the free space I put on my survey last night and I was teary and having goosies at the anonymous thank yous and good lucks. And at anonymous sharings of how this was important because he experienced the stigma himself, and how another one can’t help but be cynical but seemed hopeful too.

I guess that’s where inspiration springs from – at the communal exchange and sharing of experiences by the people you care about and also by people you do not even personally know.

It’s something sublime to somehow realize and come to terms with, actually. Something existential, and crude and vague but something that feels strangely familiar. Pondering on it gives you a feeling of warmth and light, and truth, it’s also strangely liberating.

Ahhh, I don’t want to cry here. 😆

All I’m saying is that this last sem has been such a God-experience; what with sleeplessness, exhaustion, anxiety, dissonance, confusion, general social exclusion and marginalization all together. 😭😅

It hasn’t been a walk in the park, exactly, although I am well aware that it won’t ever be, but the universe does give us a lot of reasons to keep going, really.

And you know what, all that trouble you go through to finish a (let me borrow a line from the free space of my survey that I have a weird inkling who the writer is, although unnamed 😋😆) “damn” relevant paper is what makes it all worth it.

Wish me luck on the analysis part. Haha. ❤️

All my love,

XX

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