This Is Not a Vacation

I am here to rest, get stronger, and get better but this is not a vacation. My parents, worried about my health, has insisted they take over my social responsibilities — paying for the food on my table, the roof over my head, my medical costs — just so that I can get back on my feet and fix my problem with my kidneys and, so, while I am not in any need or pressure to work — I sit around the whole day resting and “getting stronger” — I do not consider this a vacation.

The healing process, for it to truly work, must stick beyond getting my physical health back to its normal state (or whatever is considered normal for a person like me).


dealing with changes (photo by Cecile Golez)

That means I have to get it into my head that certain things must change and adjust. The drinking is gonna be easy. The friends I have surrounded myself with respect that and they don’t mind me being there at our parties and I don’t drink. That won’t be a problem; the smoking, on the other hand, will be difficult because the cravings have returned. Mind over matter. I just have to struggle with it. No one is going to force me. This one is a demon I have to deal with on my own.

The other stuff is going to be more difficult. I don’t know how long my appetite will be back. It’s back now and I’m eating like I used to, or sort of used to, but I don’t know for how long. I’m gaining weight but can I maintain it?

Sleeping is easy. My body clock is pretty much fixed. I am confident in my ability to stay away from stressful activities and work. Throwing myself into work will be problematic. I define myself in the work that I do and the work I do is creative. I want to, have to, throw myself into it. That needs to be adjusted. That will be problematic and I am going to have to think about that some more in the future.

These are issues that I have to work on as I get my physical body back into full working order.

I’m writing and getting my next books in order. It’s not stressful. I’m working at a very relaxed pace but it is work. And I’m culling out emotions, thoughts, feelings, insights that I’m afraid to put out there for fear of how it will make me seem to others. But that is what I need to do.

And it’s not easy. Bacolod and our internet service providers here are all shit. PLDT is shit and Smart is shit and I’m not even going to talk about Globe or Sky. All of them have really given us bad service in the past here in Bacolod. Outside of Manila, they aren’t so keen in giving any real service (some of them aren’t even very keen on giving good service in Manila, so go figure!).


This is always how I have defined myself: the urban, single, bachelor writer (photo by Tuchi Imperial)

I love everybody in this house but there are too many people in this house and after living in small quarters with very little people (or even alone), it is taking a lot of getting used to on my part to live in a full household again.

It’s convenient and I am surrounded by love and care. I hate to be ungrateful or ungracious but I have the mindset of single, urban bachelor living in a fully functioning provincial home with my family. It’s like a fish in an aviary.

I also define myself with my work — have always defined myself with my work — and if I can’t work, the nearest definition I have for myself is that of a sick man. And that depresses me. I cannot have that. I cannot go anywhere near depression.

And so I have to keep writing poems. I have to keep writing essays for The Thin Man and hopefully get it out soon. That would give me a new definition, somehow. That would make it all bearable.

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