After my data gathering in Olongapo, I noticed certain changes in me. Like I have evolved and I no longer who I was when I left LB last February.
My previous version, for instance, is hard-wired. You would hate her. She’s not the type who would slice her life up to welcome you. She builds walls, lets the world drops dead. You can cry in front of her and I swear she wouldn’t do anything but watch you. Appalled.
My current version, on the other hand, is emotionally receptive. I wouldn’t dare to say you would love me, but I have began unravelling my life for certain people. I dismantled my walls, picked up worlds. You can cry in front of me and I will give you a glass of water or a cup of coffee, but I will let you vent out first. And I will listen.
I may even embrace you, if it’s any comfort. This is odd, especially to those accustomed to who I was — I never hug anyone. Now I know how to hug back. A certain lawyer recently taught me that, and she may not be aware of this, but I am grateful.
Sometimes, it scares me. This shedding of anonymity. This reduction of invisibility. This crossing of proxemics. This getting too close. The possibility of being burnt.
In laying down my masks, I am exposing my very core — hidden selves, patches and scars, frustrations, secret dreams, desire, hesitations, self-doubts, even my demons. But today was a good day. And yesterday too. And the days before that. No, actually better. Life is worth it.
So yes, I will revel in this vulnerability. In this opening up. In this reciprocation.
I realized I like seeing details — the lines on people’s eyes when they pull a smile, the way pain registers on their face upon hearing others’ sufferings, the way they worry, the way they get angry, the way they wave their hands when speaking while driving a car. The way they nod. The way they care. The last crack of their laughter before it disintegrates into thin air.
I’m happy. Those I was with today, and those I was with yesterday, and the days before that — they make this life worth living. Every single battle.
I am happy.