What is your word, that one word which you believe carries your soul and life?

I’d like to think mine is yen, which also happens to be my nickname.

Back story: My friend and manager, Elizabeth, had recently asked what is going on with me. She noticed how I am not as reliable and focused as I used to be, that I haven’t been myself at work. If you know me, you’d know I try my hardest almost always, if not all the time. I replied to her, “I don’t know” but I have now been made completely aware of the reasons.

Since the new year took over, I have been overwhelmed—by my studies, by my work, by my finances, by my family’s needs, by my past, by my loneliness, by my inability to manifest my goals and dreams. All these things that I worry about take over and steal my joy, diminish my energy, and take away from my zest for life.

This isn’t the lowest I have gone or been but this comes fairly close. Yet again, I see myself wanting to withdraw from life and simply hide under a rock. But I can’t pause life and just leave… So this is an attempt to confront my demons with the hope that in the end, I will be able to expunge my emotions, embrace my frailties, let them go, and move forward with the clocks again.

1. I am sad, very sad, that I keep stuffing myself with food and more food because it makes me feel good somehow. There’s that fleeting amount of gratification before guilt and self-loathing ensues.

2. I am very lonely that I have been working on fitting a boy into my current life. I desperately attempt to keep him in conversation, asking him about unimportant things, blabbering my way each time, exposing myself fully without reading the actual red flags. He’s just not that into me. He doesn’t need me. He doesn’t belong where I am, and I don’t fit where he is. I can’t force this, I have tried but it’s just another pain, another agony I inflict upon myself.

3. I am pressured to make money because at this age, I should be making a good deal of it. But I am not. I don’t have enough to put myself through school; to purchase two houses–one in the Philippines and another in Canada–for my parents and siblings; to see the world and wander; to attend every music event I desire; and  to put away some for retirement. I feel very depressed knowing I can’t provide for my family the way I intend to, fully, completely.

4. I feel stupid because I haven’t been achieving good marks in school. I may have failed a midterm exam and a major assignment. And I fear choosing writing over anything else in my life because people say it won’t be a profitable career. And on the inside, I am scared to be put to test and figure out I am talentless after all. Writing is all I have ever known. I don’t want to lose at it.

5. I feel tired of working so hard. I always work very hard. I see myself exhausted, lines have already formed under my eyes due to my inability to sleep despite being tired to the bone. I want to escape for a while, have a change of scene, breathe clear and not worry about the bills or failing at anything or being sad. I want easy. I want to feel light.

6. If I’m being very honest, February has a pull on me. It’s that month when my long-term relationship  ended many years back and I still can’t seem to detach from it. I still feel betrayed. I still feel guilty. I still feel like I should have done more. I still feel like I cannot love again. But I am alone sinking with this past. And maybe that hurts me more, that this break-up is taking all of me, and none of him. I don’t know when I will get to feel better about Februaries. I may have moved on in other ways but Februaries still kind of make me sad just because.

7. I don’t really have anyone to be absolutely real with right now. I think I had someone but I may have lost that person in transition. And now, it’s just me and the notepad, me and the bathroom walls, me and the kitchen floor. I don’t even cry anymore; I just stare, sit or stand somewhere and remain in trance. In my head, if I don’t move, all else stops and I can breathe.

8. This is difficult to say but I think I may really be in shambles. I need vision, clarity, inspiration, some guidance as to what I should do when I can’t seem to do any. I maybe stuck and I can’t find the way out and circling around this maze has made me dizzy and tired and near giving up. Because why try again? Why try harder? What rhyme is there or what reason? Why is it always hard?

These are the very things that have been pulling me down. And today, as much as I am hurt by these, I am also grateful. Finally, after weeks and weeks of being overtaken by emotions and fears, I have found some space in my heart to accommodate them, to acknowledge they exist right now, to gather the courage to even let them escape my mouth, to welcome some joy…  I can’t run anymore or do nothing. I can’t do this to myself again. I am the only person capable of saving my heart, soul and mind from the black hole gripping at my being and tearing me apart. I choose me.

So this is what I’ll do. I will claim that I am “yen” which essentially means a strong desire or craving. I will declare great things for myself. I will breathe deep and deeper until some sense of peace finds me. I will cry my heart out now and pray that tomorrow is a better day. I will believe that I am fire, that I am whole, that I am loved… I am alone but content, anxious but resilient, prepared and patient in waiting. I declare that people around me are meant to be here, that we are together with a purpose. Moreover, I claim that I am enough and have enough; that my needs and my family’s needs are always going to be met and more. I am proclaiming that I am a writer and no amount of testing or opinion can change that. I also believe I am in the process of healing and is being made whole right this second. That I am capable and able to do what the good Lord has set me out for. With all confidence, I believe I can take my life back and I will. All this, begins here.

I hope you find some space in your heart to look within yourself too. I pray you are filled with courage and joy. I wish you light and love and peace—the same things I want for myself and the world.

All the best, from your girl, Yen.

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