Apropos of nothing

Fireflies

If you have ever seen Grave of the fireflies, you’ll know what the perils of waiting too long might be.

It has come to my attention that despite my best promises, I have not come up with any content in quite some time. As much as I would love to say that despite my absence without leave from the world wide web, I have been very productive in the real world, I’m afraid it isn’t so.

Yes, there were the holidays to tackle, and they were a rather hectic period.

Yes, I have made some drastic changes to my life, which of course took up a lot of time as well.

No, I don’t believe I have a valid excuse for my creative blank page.

I am not “being my harshest critic”, I’m just being honest. There were moments aplenty for me to get my act together and write, as I always claim that I want to do.

Sure, I’m against constantly blogging apropos of nothing and ending up just cluttering the information stream with exercises in self-aggrandizement, as I have found so often to be the case. I still believe in quality over quantity.

But I do admit that it is a fine line between being fussy about doing things right and being downright lazy, and I have crossed it over a million times. It’s far too easy to just say, “Nah, I can’t write today, I’m too distracted and nothing worthy could ever come out of it.”

I have been making excuse after excuse for not being able to get down to business: my working hours were too tough, I didn’t have a computer of my own, I didn’t have anyone motivating me. That’s exactly what they were: excuses. A metaphorical note from my mom to excuse me from class today.

I may be well in my thirties (hint: yes, I am looking for responses such as “But you don’t look a day older than 25!”) but there are still many sides of me that are… unfinished.

Do I think I should be all-knowing and wise by now? Of course not. I don’t expect that to happen when I’ll be well in my nineties. But I did expect to have developed a more graceful way to deal with the awkwardness and self-loathing I developed when I hit puberty and that I had since then clumsily mishandled.

It was rather disappointing for me to realize that I hadn’t progressed much from being a “little girl lost” in my mid-twenties. It was even more disappointing to notice how even that metamorphosis hadn’t really changed me much from the dazed and confused teenager I used to be.

Suddenly, it hit me that the name of this blog, which I thought I was using as a punchline developed over 10 years ago I had simply grown fond of, was the most honest and appropriate thing I had produced. I am still waiting to happen. I don’t consider myself a woman in my own right.

I see women, often younger than me, and I admire them. They’re in a world that still hasn’t figured out what to make of them, that still questions them. But despite how insecure this might make them feel, they stand there, determined to feel comfortable in their own skin.

And then I see overgrown children, of any gender, my age or older. They often put up a front but when push comes to shove they just huddle in a corner of self-indulgence and do nothing. They just wait for life to happen to them.

On October 1st 2015 I handed in my resignation letter from the school I had worked for since September 2002.

Sounds dramatic enough? OK, so here is some background.

I had just turned 20 when I started working there, and throughout the years I had let it become the new authority figure that would determine my life’s opportunities and limitations. As a teenager, you blame your parents and your teachers for “ruining your life”. After that, it usually is your workplace.

It’s a comfortable lifestyle. You practically never have to be responsible for yourself because you always have someone else making those hard calls for you. And when the outcome is unpleasant you rant about it for a while and then wait for things to blow over. But you’re stuck in limbo.

I was young when I started working, and I’ll allow that to be my excuse then. Most people my age were in university extending their leave of absence from adulthood, getting acquainted with it in small doses. I thought I was “being real” instead, but in the end I just allowed my emotional growth to be stumped, having replaced the parent to please or rebel against my employer.

I am not unique in this behaviour. As a matter of fact, this accusatory finger could be pointed to every other person in the western world: overgrown babies across the internet, take a pledge to grow up with me! (I’m giggling as I type this, please take it in that spirit.)

So what about that letter of resignation, then?

I’m now doing exactly what I used to do, I teach English as a second language. And I still work with the school I resigned from, naturally. But I’m a freelance now, so everything I do is all up to me. My mistakes. My victories. My responsibility.

It’s scary, and I must admit I’m not entirely sure of the timing. As mentioned in my previous post, I have a wedding ahead of me. That will probably be followed by the messy business of setting up a family, eventually. I’m not sure it was the right choice to make.

But it was my choice and I’m not making any more excuses for myself.

My working hours are the ones I make for myself, so I can easily fit some writing in there.

I have both a working laptop of my own and a working tablet, so I can easily write wherever I am.

I have had people who have been preciously encouraging my efforts and motivating me for years.

I’m very excited about this new year, let’s see what it will bring.

But I’m not waiting anymore. I’m good and done with that.

Sometimes they come back

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…graaaargh, someone get these brambles off me!

Am I dreaming? The blog is actually being updated? Has the account been hacked? The answers to these questions are, in order: quite possibly, yes and no.

It’s been almost a year since my #NotNaNoWriMo project crashed and burned, but to be fair it ran longer than I had estimated. I’ve never been a glass half full kind of gal. I’d more likely eye the glass suspiciously whilst pondering on who left it behind, what were their intentions and what are the odds of it being poisonous (usually they would be pretty high). And then write a short piece of fiction about fear and paranoia and the lengths it can drive one to. As a matter of fact… *takes a short break to scribble something on her notepad*

But then if someone else gingerly approached that glass and made moves to drink from it I’d probably grab it and drown it in one gulp. Which is why I think it’s time to come back to blogging. My massive ego needs a place to vent before I start making all those around me too miserable with it.

So yes, I’m updating my blog again and I have many reasons for this: things in my life I’d like to share with the sole purpose of getting advice on, personal projects I’d like to spam the world wide web with and the such. I have a wedding to plan and have no idea on how to get around that. I need to make some serious career decisions. And finally, I need to write, it’s a craving that’s always been in me this entire time and it’s slowly burning a hole within me, so big it started sucking away pieces of me. I swear, I feel like I’m getting hollower by the minute and sooner rather than later there won’t be enough of me left to make a whole person.

Say what? Is this in direct contradiction with the aforementioned massive ego? Well, first off, you really focus too much on detail. You would probably be good at CinemaSins. I suggest seeing if they have any vacancies opening up. Secondly, I’m the author of this blog. I reserve for myself the right to contradict myself on the grounds of “so it is”. Thirdly, have a look at showbiz: there are hollow people wrapped up in massive egos aplenty. And that’s a legion I’m not interested in joining.

Back to being serious for a short bit: what started the whole mental process that led me back here was that last March the best author in the world passed away. He was my role model in practically anything literature-related. I had this dream hidden somewhere in my chest of wonders that one day, he’d read something I wrote. He would have picked it up in some nice little bookshop he was visiting, perhaps for a signing, and read it and had an opinion on it. I didn’t particularly care whether he thought of it as good or bad (well, that’s partly a lie, I’d have been well chuffed if he thought it any good), but just having him think something of it would have been enough. And there you go, what with that not happening anymore I started having all these… things happening in here, feelings and ideas and stuff that I started pushing away but that refused to budge. They didn’t want to go. And I would stare blankly because I had no idea what to do with them.

So there, I’m back because there are some feelings and ideas that are worth saving, if only for their admirable stubbornness. And I’ve decided to save them here.

Hello, world

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Milcah Marcelo circa 2012. Nowadays I’m less red and sparkly.

Back when the internet started, that was what every first post was titled. I’m all for the classics. This is going to be my nth time trying to keep a blog/journal/whatever. I’m not particularly optimistic.

In 2001 I started a LiveJournal. Do you guys remember LiveJournal? I don’t. I think I started off as a semi-regular blogger, and then drifted off. I tried other services since. I even have a tumblr. How blogging challenged must a person be when they cannot even tumble? Neil Gaiman tumbles. And tweets. And keeps a blog. And posts contributions to The Guardian. And writes successful novels. I can only imagine that he has a team of at least 10 PA’s (all dressed as Death, obviously) doing all this networking for him or I don’t know how on earth he manages it.

But I’ve noticed that lately I need my own place to let out what I think. It’s the only way I know to keep sane. The alternative is to go to the IMDb message boards or read YouTube comments. And I assure you, that does not keep anyone sane.

I go through phases.

Sometimes I just post loads of photos. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. And shootshootshootshootshoot. And then I stop.

Sometimes I tweet like crazy everything that I happen to be reading/watching/hearing/thinking. And then I stop.

Sometimes I pin stuff on Pinterest, and I’ll spend 2-3 days in total awe of what you can find on the internet. And then I stop.

And then I vanish, for extended periods of time, and the only updates from me are actually automatically uploaded by my music player.

So no, I’m not particularly optimistic. As a matter of fact, I’m not entirely sure of what I’m gonna do with this blog. But I guess it’s worth a shot.

Hello, world.

My name is Milcah.

I’m just a girl, waiting to happen.