Category: Random thoughts

Thoughts on Death (and the Crap Written about it)

People say dead souls become stars because stars watch over us and are closer to heaven. But dead souls are stars because there are so many of them. To put it into perspective: If you watched all of the dead marched through your window it would probably take you all your life, depending on how many years you have left, not that you would know; and if you stacked fifteen dead people together with a living person, every living person would have for himself a merry company. How curious a company that would be! But death itself is a curious ritual, as much so as birth is and identical to it in several ways: both involve an unconscious being, not quite alive, not quite otherwise; and that one sees it happen to others but never to oneself. In this way, death is just like life, conjoined to it like a less-loved twin who’s bitter about it. 

But I’m not saying this to sound like a smartass. No one who is alive knows death, which makes it ridiculous how much have been said about it. It is ironic that I am myself discussing death in this post, but irony is healthy, so I’m gonna go ahead and say that death has been overly dramatized and romanticized. Through countless theatrical and literary productions, death has embodied literally everything in the world—love, sacrifice, courage, dignity, innocence, loyalty, the meaning of life, the meaninglessness of life, human folly, greed, punishment, redemption, and so on and so forth. Not only are these representations miserably recycled, they are also wildly misleading—death will not be eternal glory for many of us, and is probably not worth dreading nor dreaming about. One of my neighbors died while the dentist pulled out her teeth; another had a heart stroke coming out of a shower; Dr. Juvenal Urbino dies falling off a ladder trying to catch his parrot. These kinds of death are rarely talked about because they are deemed meaningless, but the truth is that death itself is meaningless. Life is what has meaning. Drama, regret, pain, anger—these are the matter of Life, which Death neither solves nor ends. Death just leaves you hanging, because you’re never ready for it. Death is really just an end stop popping out of nowhere, which doesn’t stop life but, ironically, maintains it through its endless cycles of rebirth. 

On a less radical note, I have for you a recycled message which you’re more likely to agree with: Do not fear Death, fear Life. Fear your own fears, which will prevent you from living that good life you know you deserve, even though you saw it in other people’s Instagram. In the end, if your life is well-lived, it might as well go on, and on, and on, beyond death. 

How It Feels Being a Skeptic

You’re really just sitting there doing nothing, except that your mind won’t let you alone and once it gets its way nothing stays the same. Everything starts to go wrong, and even though you’re just sitting there you see your whole world collapses as the intoxicating thoughts kick in, doubting everything there is to doubt. On the train you have anxiety every single minute thinking that you’re going inbound instead of outbound, and when you get off you start to doubt if indeed you’re supposed to go outbound in the first place, because after a year of everyday commute you still can’t trust yourself. Skeptics like you love to learn, because knowing makes you feel at peace. That is, if you really know peace, because what if your peace is an illusion from what is really self-indulgence, pleasure that is temporary and eventually dies out; what if all that you do and everything that you are is a phase and that they were right; what if you love just to make you feel better about yourself; what if that is the way he loves you? You would suddenly realize something, which you would always always regret realizing, that when you look yourself in the eye you see nothing. You don’t see who you are looking into the mirror because that is something you haven’t found, because every time you try to find it you find another reason to give up. You see all these doubts instead and nothing that you know, because perhaps that nothing is how much you really know. You’ll find out that you’re actually okay with not knowing, it’s all the lies that you’re sick of. Political propaganda, congratulations, advertisements, “Everything will be okay”s,… these things that keep telling you you must not believe, as if you don’t already have that problem. And then comes religion. You find religious disciples the most annoying creatures because they can believe, because deep down you envy that ability. They have life easy. Their life follows a pattern that they know, they have reasons for everything that happens and it’s enough that it’s true for them because reality is a relative concept. A skeptic like you can’t have it that way because you assign meaning to things and you strive to explain life your way, and it’s hard. It’s hard figuring things out on your own because you can’t trust anyone else to. It’s hard because more often than not you don’t have an answer. It sure is hard, but believe me one last time when I say that in the end you’ll have it best. Believe, skeptic though you are, that all this thinking amounts to something significant, something that doesn’t have to be an answer. A cynic like you sees the world as the mess that it is, a multifaceted reality, a dark, bottomless hole squirming with hands groping blindly for answers. You see the truth of the future, the only truth: we can see it-our future-right ahead of us, through the immaculate lucidity of our vision-a vast, radiant, impenetrable blankness. Nothing is known in its entirety; all is bound in transcendental complexities, entangled in both the good and the bad. You see the sinful in the luminescent, the benevolent in the perverse. All expectation is nonsense, as is all devotion in any truth, any zealous faith. Don’t long for simplicity or faith, for these are things meant to be shattered. We tire ourselves because reality bothers us, as it’s supposed to, and we keep on grinding our beliefs because we are strong enough to face what we see, and wise enough to know what lies beyond. We refuse to believe what’s given because we choose to transcend it, because the world is worth doubting and we are meant to amend its crooked, shadowed facets. Believe, skeptic though you are, that one day there will be a truth, concrete and simple, sweeping and transparent, that has its proud history in you.

To People Who Tell Me to Love Myself


Insecurity is a cycle. Remember that thing you read on Tumblr about how you have to love yourself before anyone else could? That’s bullshit, written by people who were born and raised confident, who know nothing about what self-worth is to someone who doesn’t even trust or even listen to what she herself has to say. How do you tell an insecure person—who speaks quietly, deaf inside to her own voice, whose own breath sounds too loud and whose limbs seem so redundant they might as well be someone else’s, whose own presence bothers her to the point that she is in denial all her life—how do you tell this person to love herself? She would begin to love herself if ever love began with doubt and isolation, of and from her own body, a detachment from a Self lost somewhere along the way. She would begin to love herself if only she could convince herself that love starts from the heart and not the eyes. Every time she tries the cycle repeats itself all over again.


The Broken Penners

High school love is like a broken pen. Sometimes you see the words you write, sometimes you don’t, and when you hold it in your hand and toss it the ink rushes out all over the place.

Even when it works you think about whether you really want to write, because after a while you’re just like “hey, maybe I should read instead.”

Writing is an urge that comes and go, but the ink isn’t. It comes without you asking it to, it goes without you wanting it to.

Maybe one day you go out and see this person holding your pen as if it’s theirs. Or you go home and see it gone on your table—it could be in your laundry, under your carpet, or inside your bag. Even if it’s there next to you as you lay in bed you may not be able to see it.

A little story for people who want a pen, have a pen, have lost a pen, are a pen: don’t worry if you mess your writing up, because with a pen you can always cross it out and make it right again. It’s broken, but you don’t like it perfect anyway, do you?1524534493_8320ca5ada_b

The Secret of Solitude – A weird teenage approach to philosophy

I have learned to never feel lonely. Never to need others’ company to cheer me up, never to need them to appreciate who I am, simply because I have learned to enjoy myself before I learned to love anything or anyone else. This is the only way one would never feel lonely, because one will have to be alone at some point and at a certain frequency in one’s life, and not having to depend on anyone for happiness is just about the most powerful asset that can ever be possessed. Learning an instrument, reading, writing, doing one’s nails, gardening, those are all things that a person can learn to occupy his solitariness. Now this is not something I just came up with: I have struggled with loneliness my whole life, battling it until there’s nothing else but this one solution. I learned it the hard way, but it works.

However, this little thesis of mine was challenged on a summer day several weeks ago, when I was rambling through the chaotic pool of people in the streets of Vietnam and suddenly a sole image of a girl froze my mind. She was a teenage girl wearing a high school uniform, hair pulled back, shoulders dropping and pulling her sullen face with it. The girl struggled to climb onto her bike, clutching her clumsy shivering hands on the wheels, liquids dripping down her face that soon became so overflowed I couldn’t quite tell if they came from her eyes or her forehead, or both. And the thing was, the girl wore the saddest face I had ever seen. Her face was quite pretty, but her black eyes were void and paralyzed with something I couldn’t tell—a touch of something that was incredibly, overwhelmingly sad that I couldn’t quite describe, probably because I registered that feeling with feelings of my own and not my head. Her lips were a pale purplish gray, and the outlines of her nose were so pathetically flat her face looked like wet paper towels, the sad ones that were crumbled and stepped on on the ground. Surprisingly enough, as I came closer I figured she wasn’t crying. When I thought about it again that day I didn’t find it surprising though: I guessed when I myself was frustrated, hurt, broken, angry, I poured my heart out with tears, I screamed, I crawled on the floor, my throat dry and my face wet. I erupted with emotions. But when I was sad I never did those things. It was more about suppression as opposed to explosion, oppression by either a solid being or figurative forces—so much nothing really got out of me. No tears, no words, no vowels. Sadness was an inactive emotion. It groaned timidly, wept covertly, and sighed softly.

That was why when I was sad I seemed to swell up while looking like I wanted to shrink down. Into an infinitely small creature that I felt like I was.

Anyway, I approached her and asked her what the problem was. She said everything in her life fell apart. Her boyfriend just left her, her mother did a long while ago. She didn’t know why because no one told her why, but for some reasons her breakup left her angry at herself and not the guy. She had no one to blame, nothing to break, but herself.

“But you have yourself left, right? Only yourself can be enough.”

“But he is here no more.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

When I told mom this she told me I was wrong. She told me I didn’t get it because I had never been in love.

“What does love have anything to do with it?”

“Love is giving and taking. Love takes away a part of you and fills it in with substance of its own. When love leaves, it takes that part away with it, so you’re left with a void. Sometimes that void can never be filled on your own.”

I thought about it the next morning when I was looking into the mirror the next morning during my hygiene routine. “Love becomes a part of you”, was as much as I could grasp among all the things she said. I guessed it meant that it would grow into something much more than “a part” of you, like the part that you loved the most about yourself. It became your identity, which was why it became irreplaceable. It would even grow to be the only part you loved about yourself.

Should it though?

I say that if love makes you something less than yourself, it’s not love. My mom is right that after experiencing it love makes the game quite different, because it does make you feel incomplete. However, you can totally grow that missing part out again. When you are in love, with someone that loves you back, it is the art of giving and taking, but it’s not just one part of you—it’s diffusing each other’s bodies, fulfilling every molecules with this new substance, so that when the two separate something leaves but everything stays. That substance, that influence the other has on you is still here even though the person isn’t here anymore. Anyway, what I mean to say is that you are still you, not a broken, partially lost you but a new you. A new you with a touch of this thing you’ve recently been through.

Now this has turned into something quite different than what I had intended it to be, but the bottom line is, you should learn to love yourself first and foremost, and loving someone else shouldn’t interfere with that self-love. Don’t feel incomplete when someone leaves your life, because they were there in the first place just to leave that little substance in you. When they’re done they leave, when they’re not they stay, and it’s ok either way. So love your own company, that’s the only person you ever really have.

This person I want to be

Everything created for adolescents is supposed to have been made for one sole purpose: for them to develop their identity. They need to know what things they’re passionate about, what traits they want to define themselves with, and really not who they want to become but who they are. Have humans always been the same persons as they were two days ago and ten years ago? Is there really a difference between “the old” and “the new” Miley Cyrus? So does this person that we always, at some point in our life, aspire ourselves to be, even exist, or is it just a more version of the younger us, a more mature version whose traits are not invented but fully exposed? I think it fair to argue that the core values we define ourselves with have been inside us this whole time, and it is always about whether we recognize its existence and resolve to bring its presence to broad daylight and at the same time be proud that we did. And maybe it’s always just the matter of time, because one seems to realize sooner or later, although it best be during our teenage years when a little misunderstanding doesn’t lead to the collapse of a business or someone going to jail. Or is it that those hidden values don’t wait until we discover them, but rather wait for a time when they want to come out?

However, it’s true that this person we want to be still exists. It calls for its existence every single day, when our clumsy legs send us flying to the ground, when we study for physics and fail anyway, when our hair just won’t straighten even after hours and hours. Whenever things just don’t work no matter how hard we try, we wish we can change some things about ourselves. We know those stuff they talk about, that we should be proud of who we are and embrace ourselves because everyone is unique and all that shit. Oh but how hard it really is to understand that there are limitations to what we can change about ourselves, that there are certain things that are just meant to be, and not to feel desperate or disappointed, because the more important thing to understand is that maybe, those things that we want to change don’t need to be changed. That it’s better this way, because what difference does it make? Okay but what difference does it really make?

It’s hard to get this person out of our mind because we want what we want. The real problem is that we never see everything we want when we want one particular thing too badly, and I guess it’s really why you can only acquire nirvana when you’re free of desires. That’s basically the definition of regret. We want so many things in life, but the wants that have been fulfilled suddenly lose all their values. Until we lose them, and then get sucked in this endless cycle of sacrifices and dissatisfaction.

Well, but do I want to rid all of my desires, for so-called freedom and salvation?

No thanks. Not when I’m fifteen, when I’m the only child in the family and my dad not having pension when he retires. Life is not all about myself, and it’s not a complaint. We as human beings live in a community and we usually don’t have a choice about it, not that it’s troubling with me because I wouldn’t want a life with just myself anyway. And coming along with the joy of company is the responsibilities of membership. Looking back on my life, it has always been about those responsibilities. 80% of the decisions I’ve made are with regards to others. And I don’t mean to say I’m a kind person, because doing things for others is to me, and probably to many others, not at all a kind and nice thing but a responsibility, a default mind set. Now that really goes for many things, including fulfilling expectations, which really shapes this “person I want to be” rather than who I really think I should be.

This ends sort of abrupt, but I really have no more to write. What’s the point of writing without wanting to write. (It’s funny how I keep getting back to the point of everything. It’s in fact kind of a funny word).