to endure

I honestly don’t know if I have any fight left in me. I just read the headlines on the articles that people are sharing on Twitter and Facebook and see how this government blatantly exercising their power like tyrants and despots. I want to rally. I want to protest but there’s nothing we can offer to replace that which we wish to topple down.

There is no alternative.

Even if we put Leni Robredo in power, that’s just an avenue for the Liberal Party to come back in and mess things up further.

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Can I sit this one out? (Photo by Shaira Luna, taken in 2017)

We want a change. We wanted change. This is not the change we were asking for and what we are asking for is not available or accessible to us. I survey my surroundings and, really, there is nothing left here to save us but time.

Time becomes the great equalizer. All I feel like we can do right now is to wait it out. Suffer, endure, survive, and live long enough to see things turn and change like they always do.

I hate feeling defeated or helpless. I hate feeling like this. I’m the hopeful one. I’m the one who can shift my perspective, my point-of-view to see various sides and keep pushing forward but no matter where I shift my focus, I always see the same thing. I feel like we’ve lost this battle and the next few battles to go.

We’ve lost this country to the worst of the worst. History has repeated itself. This is a dictatorship and I’ve neither the money nor the influence nor the stomach or values to thrive in this government. I’m going to get stepped on along with the rest of 99 million Filipinos under this rule.

I hate that they can just push for the abusive tax reform law and just set it into motion just like that. I hate it that they can close down Rappler on a technicality. I hate it that they can just start impeachment procedures again every government body or agency that is built to check on them. I hate that they’ve smashed the opposition. I hate that they can say any stupid thing and get away with it.

I hate it. I hate not having the will to fight this.

But I’ve never been a fighter, really. Even when it comes to my own health, I was always better at the slash-and-burn. Break it down, burn it all off, and start over. I’m good at rebuilding. I’m good at putting things back together again. I’ve never been good at defense. I’ve never been good at offense. I let them win, let time takes it course, and come back stronger and tougher and wiser.

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‘to endure’ (photo by Shaira Luna, taken in 2017)

That’s always been my play. I think about it now and that has always been the case with me. On everything. Don’t fight. Let them win and watch them struggle with victory and come back stronger than before.

I was built to rebuild. That’s my strength, I guess.

And that’s what I’m going to do. When I got my tattoo on my arm, the Japanese character that represents ‘patience,’ I was told by an acquaintance that, in Mandarin, the character on my arm literally meant ‘to endure.’ It does mean patience in Japanese and in Chinese but it’s formal meaning is ‘to endure.’ It’s two characters merged and it’s the image for knife and heart. The knife stabbing the heart. It’s literal meaning is ‘to endure.’

That was purely accidental. I wanted patience on my arm to remind me of that which I felt I needed most. Coincidentally, what I had put on my arm was a tattoo of what feels like my life’s journey. To endure.

I will endure.

I’m good at it.

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