Matchbox Maladies

Catastrophic uncertainty of the self.

Lesson No. 2

by Sine Qua Non

I saw this video from Upwrothy about fathers braiding daughters’ hairs.


And I didn’t think I would cry but I did. I could feel all my emotions well up inside me while at the same time my chest heaving tight to suppress all the feelings back in. I swear the pain exists physically and it’s a knot that moves steadily right on top of my diaphragm. The pain is real.

And while I feel all that I need to say is ready to burst out of me, I still cannot say it and it is not because I think that I cannot find the right, the most perfect words to use – well maybe yes there is the fear of that possibility – but more than that, more than a fear of never doing justice to my father’d death with just one piece, what is keeping me from just letting all the words pour out is the apparent reality that if I do so, I am truly letting go of my dad.

And that is what pains me. and that is what is keeping me from writing and that is what is making me cry whenever a trigger is available. Not because I have lost him already but because I have not actually let go.

and writing down his memory in poetry or prose will make it all very real. even more real than i could grasp. it is not because i do not have the words. it is because i do not want to give the words to the feeling. i do not want the feeling to win. and it scares me. and it pains me. so much.

because it is not as simple as writing it for someone someone else lost. it is not as easy as a factsheet turned metaphoric-esoteric. It is not simple at all.

And I continue to weep by myself because I’ve never truly wept about it. I never knew how to weep about it. What to cry about. I don’t even know who to ask for help. If I should ask for help. I have never truly mourned.

So this is what loss feels like. That  times will come when you realize you never really let go of the things that you’ve already lost. And you’ll keep trying to hold on to something you could keep safe within that the universe couldn’t take away from you.

As for me, with my father, it is these words. Something about never having my hair braided but always having that father who not only wished for a better world for me but believed that I could create that better world to. But it will never be whole – the poem will not be written. Not right now. I hope that it is not forever. At some point this loss should be something I could cease keeping as something that I own. That I should cease seeing it as loss at some point. And just let go.

Just let go.




Lesson No. 1

by Sine Qua Non

Now Playing: Silver Lining by Rilo Kiley

I am feeling a literal hunger. Not yet enough to urge me to get something to eat – also because I haven’t been very active these past few days and all I’ve actually done is just eat and lie down and sleep and eat again – so I’my really trying to avoid getting more food into my body. At least not yet. If anything, I’m going to use the hunger to put me to sleep.

It is delightfully refreshing to hear myself tap on the keyboard again. It took quite a while to get to this point – I knew I would bring myself here at some point, I really just did not know when or how. I would like to think the timing is just about right.

I used to always have a plan about things. Used to be able to plan what I would do with my life. Even if I had my throw away days, those day had to be labeled throw away days before I could actually throw them away first. These 6 weeks are all throw away days. Throw away . And I have to truly throw them all away to know what exactly I need to keep.

If this happened any other time in my life, I don’t think I would have the same strength, patience, and humility to face all this. I have nothing left but my sobriety, my immobility, my bleeding lip, and my hunger.

I’m not yet ready. I have absolutely no idea what I need to do because I don’t know what I’m looking for, what I want. That’s what I’m looking for. What I want.

I look to my right and see myself dimly lit. There will only be one takeaway tonight:

It is that I have to start believing that I am beautiful. I am one of a kind. And from now on, starting tonight, this truth I will accept. I will believe it.



by Sine Qua Non

The thing is, i always keep telling myself to begin again. To try again. i continuously scold myself and list down regrets and kick the curb and try to step forward. again and again.

And now, at this age, I guess it becomes more acceptable. The reality that there will always be an excuse, a reason to stop and be lazy and skip what you prmised yourself to do. There will always be a precursor to the lack of motivation that I allow myself to succumb to. But then again, there is this. There will always be the choice to stand up and be better and TRY AGAIN. And it is okay. To other people’s eyes as well as to my own I may laready look like I’m failing at trying to be good at life but at least I haven’t stopped trying. No use being regretful of time past and enumerating everythign I said I would do, everything I could have done. Because i can’t really do any of those now, can I?

Let’s just try again and do something new. And help thy slef become better than the self of yesterday. If I’m complaining about a messy room today then maybe I can make it less messy tomorrow. Bit by bit. No hurries. Savor the process of becoming better. No journal to write on, well you have SO MANY NOTEBOOKS given to you by all your firneds who invest so much faith in your writing. Hide the old ones and pull out a new one. START FRESH. START ANEW.

God damn it, just START.

*goes and fixes bedside clutter and grabs a new notebook (WRITE IT DOWN SO YOU ACTUALLY DO IT, BITCH*

That took a while but at least i did it. I cleared out my old journals and put them into the drawers. I took out a clean notebook, this first one that I found, and it will be my new journal. I will cover it with bus tickets tomorrow, the way that I always do with my journals.a And then I will write my first entry.

Because i had to clear some drawer space I also figured out what to store in the new plastic containers I bought. Since I haven’t been opening any of my old books nor notebooks here sine I moved in, I will store all my books in one container and my old notebooks in another. My old photocopied reading will be diligently sorted out but if I can throw most of them away, I will. Everything that is paper I will keep in the containers except for a few books which I like to open every now and then. Plus the new ones I’ve acquired since I moved here. One container will also be dedicated to the other clutter that I cannot seem to throw away. Stuff that can be recycled for craft’s purpose. One day when I am old, I will open that container and make new things out of the old. If I have one more container left, should I be unable to fill two containers with books, I will use it to store old clothes,. That’s random. I haven’t really thought about the clothes business yet.

So that’s a start. it really is. i just have to start somewhere. I know I won;t be able to sort out all the books and notebook in the coming week since I’ll be away, but at least I knowm and I’ve written it down so I have something to refer to.

In the meantime, I have to write a new letter. And maybe another poem, if I don’t fall asleep before attempting to do so.

Good, self. Now, breathe.


by Sine Qua Non

laziness is brutally unforgiving. worse than paralysis, it is inactivity by choice.

some people will say that others need it, that it is part of an organic process that will eventually usher in the growth of a person. there are triggers and there are cures. but it can also be chronic and that one might be incurable. or maybe not. a part of me still believes every single human being experiences a profound moment of enlightenment in their lives wherein they realize their profound purpose on earth. everything else follows after that.

i am, obviously, not at that stage yet. but i am currently battling this disease that is laziness in the hopes of it not becoming chronic. because, frankly, one could look for as much motivation to write but when the brain chooses sleep over the former — boom.

i need to get back on that high horse. i don’t know how – suddenly and forcefully, reducing my sleeping hours and my bouts with alcohol? or slowly but surely, ensuring output within a careful schedule to avoid further disappointment within the self.

i don’t know. i really don’t. i have no game plan. the desire to sleep is still very strong. all i’, telling myself to do now is finish beautifully, at least. if this entry will serve as the mark of the end of this writing hiatus, then at least do it with some sense of self respect and finish beautifully.

and begin. just fucking begin.

2am at the office with no one to talk to

by Sine Qua Non

It gets lonely after a while.

The silence. The repetitive whirr of the printer. The not knowing what to do, who to talk to, not having any company to be there when they say they will always be there. It’s a bad joke, actually.

They say, one must get used to having only the self as company. Lucky if you have a relatively expansive playlist. But sometimes listening to music can make things worse. It just reminds you of people who are not there when you hope they would be.

I don’t know if it’s because of the tired mind or if I’m just too tense about the task at hand that in truth I would really rather watch all the papers being printed out properly, hoping none will go awry and that I will meet my targeted number of printouts in time for me to catch my flight. I am also anticipating the moment of panic when I realize I cannot fit all my stuff into my luggage. Or the worry about being able to pack the right clothes or not.

Or maybe, really, I’m just tired. I do not want to think.

Yet I wish to converse.

I think, among all the things I miss most about having an ‘other’ in life is the conversation. Having that one person to turn to at any minute to speak with. One who will entertain any silly question one might have in mind. One, who you can shake awake at half past three for a cup of tea or for an episode of Friends. One, who will take your call in the middle of an important meeting, who will strain from giggling upon receiving a nasty face, who will conceal excitement in the underpants after you send an after-shower shot of yourself. One who will hold you in silence and now that that exchange is enough. (And I realize this now because The Boy From Buenos Aires just messaged me and, still, I feel alone. I just feel that everyone is so far away.)

I really think it’s the fatigue. Because, really, I’m not supposed to be this lonely.

I still have about 15 more A3 pages to print. It takes 2 minutes and a half to print one.

And, YAY, a friend just got online and now I have someone to talk to. Virtually.

It’s really not the same. But, well, at least the conversation will take my mind of feeling alone for now.



Where are the people you need when you need them the most? It’s cheeky, but it’s true.

I need a beer.



My Remedy

by Sine Qua Non

And this is how i know there’s nothing more beautiful than an orange-colored sky. It’s the reminder of how long a time i spend with you and how much longer I want it to be.

You and your beat and rhythm and savory jazz, you heal me.

I love you, my little (literally) drummer (and one of the best in the business, no doubt) boy.

You are my remedy. Heart, body, and soul.


by Sine Qua Non



May tanong ako,

Bakit biglang ang ligamgam mo sakin?

Nilalambing kita at nilalandi pa pero I feel like deadma ka.

Busy ka lang ba? Masyado lang ba akong needy?

Are you dating somebody else now?

Or you’re just plainly not interested in me anymore?

bakit bigla kang nanligamgam

by Sine Qua Non

Maihinga ko lang habang naghahain na ng pagkain sa mesang aking kinalalagyan. Isa lang ang gusto kong itanong, bakit biglang ikaw ay nanligamgam?

Sure it seems i invented a word right there, but I purposely did it to keep a rhyme. i’m supposed to be busy writing a new play but frankly i just couldn’t concentrate. i’d like to be able to type away in this small laptop with every ounce of passion, discipline, and inspiration but seems that the source for that last bit just dried up today. And I’m really really frustrated. I don’t get it.

Naiinis ako kasi hindi kita maintindihan. at eto na naman ako, mistulang manghuhula na naman. sawang-sawa na ako, puwede ba, sa katatantsa ng mga tulad niyong pakiramdam ko ang tingin sa akin ay puwede na. Please ayoko nang muling umibig sa mga tulad niyong sa dulo ng lahat ay hindi pala ako pipiliin kahit na sa araw-araw na dumaan hindi ka na nawaksi sa aking isipan.

The thing is you’ve helped me get over the last guy and for that I am truly grateful but because you, through your own doing, your own being, have revived in me the same ugly feeling and unfortunately it’s even more painful than just pining for someone who I’ve always hoped would choose me, all that I’m feeling right now is that I’ll never be the choice, and will always be the one on standby in case you don’t find her yet

and that sucks you know cause you are supposed to be my friend, you’re supposed to understand the kind of shit I’ve gone through and would really rather avoid going through again; so if you’re just going to treat me like shit i’m just not up for that if only i could just spit this in your face then maybe everything won’t be so out of whack

god im hurting pretty bad and i couldn’t function and all i could think of is jumping off a bridge now or the future where there wouldn’t be anyone to hold my hand

im trying really hard to purge all these and just move on and clear my head and dissipate the anger, curb the desire, and yeah well honestly wish everyone who hurt me were dead

why do i have to go through shit like this what the hell did i do

when i wake up tomorrow oh lord please please please help me tell me what to doooo


i hate you *** i hate you

by Sine Qua Non

kapag ako’y naguguluhan, naglalabas ako ng papel at bumubuo ng listahan

ng lahat ng mga bagay na bumabagabag sa akin.

halimbawa: ang hilera ng mga sapatos na iniwan ng mga paang nagmamadaling unahan ang hatinggabi sa kama, ang balumbon ng mga damit na bitbit ang amoy ng mga usapang sinawsaw sa kape at binalot ng usok, mga salansan ng librong nagkalat sa bawat sulok at lilim ng kuwarto – bakas ng mga bagay na hindi kayang tapusin, ayaw tapusin, at hindi na siguro matatapos

tulad ng listahang ito

hindi na nalayo sa listahan noong nakaraang buwan, umulit noong nakaraang linggo, at malamang ay mabubuo ulit sa darating na mga araw

ang mga bumabagabag sa akin ay lulubog, lilitaw, lilisan, madaragdagan, makakalimutan, hahawakan, bibitawan, hahanapin, aalalahanin, tatandaan–

para may listahang bubuuing muli at ipapakita sa iyo, puno’t dulo ng lahat ng gulo.

tagabusisi ng mga bagay na naglalaro sa isip ko: pumupulot ng sapatos, nagtutupi ng damit, nagbubuklat ng libro. tagapunit ng mga listahang pinakatago-tago ko.

at kapag hindi ko na maisip ang mga bagay na bumabagabag sa akin, kapag hindi ko na maintindihan kung ako ba’y panatag o naguguluhan, ibinabaling ko ang mga tanong sa mga mata mong ayaw gumanti ng sagot. sa mga mata mong nakaukit ang ‘okay lang.’ sa titig na ayaw kumilala ng gusot. pagbaling na walang katuturan

at muli akong maguguluhan at bubuo ng listahan ng mga bagay na natatandaan ko na lang at hindi na nakikita,

kapag ako’y naguguluhan inaaalala kita. at kung paano mo isa-isang itinuwid ang mga baluktot para hindi na ako maglista sa kama.

minsan hindi ako makapaniwalang wala na akong hawak na listahan. Natatandaan ko, oo, pero ikaw, nilunok mo. At araw-araw mong bitbit sa bituka mo ang mga bagay na bumabagabag sakin, ngayon


Dear 2014

by Sine Qua Non

You crept up on me like a mist on a valley waking up to another morning. I knew you were coming I just somehow wasn’t paying attention. The next thing I know, the morning’s all warm and yellow and you’ve taken away last night with you. I missed something, I know.


Or I thought so. Where I am, the blades of grass remain still in the limbo between awake and unconscious. And the chill of the wind cuts through. It feels as if dawn will never come.