5 months flew by just like that. In an instant, I have reached the last page of a chapter in a book called My Life. I flew to Manila earlier this year thinking I will spend a month and a half enjoying the beach; instead, I filled my days with exercise and dinners to keep my mind off the fact that I will be stuck in the country indefinitely.
For a planner such as I, not having a schedule to stick to was insanely hard. I can’t plan a month or two ahead of time because I do not know if I will still be in the country. The constant state of “not knowing” gave me anxiety. I have missed weddings and big life events because I couldn’t commit early on, and it eats on my soul.
Through the fog of uncertainty, my friends and family gave me a reason to venture out of the cave that is my condo. As the weather turned warmer, I find myself spending more time within the confines of its walls, with the AC blasting cool air on my face. As the sun shone brighter, more and more of my time was spent indoors being a partial recluse.
I never really expected my friends to welcome me back with open arms. I have been gone a year or so, and I was pleasantly surprised when people actually planned dinners and took time off their busy lives to see me. I honestly thought they saw me as a friend that drifted away, basically not part of their lives anymore, maybe demoted to acquaintance. Flattered isn’t the correct adjective to describe how I felt when I found out I was wrong; touched is more like it. Loved, definitely.
I do not consider myself a good person. In fact, I still am judgmental, classist, and a misogynist, but knowing that these group of people value my life enough that they would drive through Manila traffic and spend precious time with me validates my existence. Somehow I did something right in this world. Somehow I gained friends who will stand by me. Somehow people would care to show up to my future funeral. Growing up not valuing my existence, this new knowledge that people care made me value my own life.
Around 4 years ago, I was lucky to have a great support system when I was battling depression. My twisted brain made me believe that what they did was out of pity. Or out of a sense of honor that they should “save” me. However, this proved to be false when they still continued to care even when I was away.
Looking back, they helped me because they loved me. When 2 of my uncles died last year and I went home to show support, I truly felt their appreciation of my presence. I never had to bring home lavish presents because my being there was enough. Through their deaths I learned that time is the best gift one can ever offer. And my friends giving me theirs made a profound impact on my life.
Tomorrow, I will be embarking on the next leg of this long journey. Maybe I will like it, maybe I won’t. But knowing that I can come home anytime to the loving embrace of my friends and family gives me courage and hope that, perhaps, life will continue to be good.