Existential Breakthrough

//Author’s Note: this essay has mentions of depression and suicide. Nonetheless, it is meant to be an inspirational piece, not a dark one. If you are easily triggered, you can close this now. Thank you//

An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether their life has any meaning, purpose, or value. (James, R.)

Tonight…
I experienced the opposite of an existential crisis – an existential breakthrough. Instead of being confused about the universe and my role in it – like I always did – for the first time in my life, I finally understood it all. Instead of questions piling on top of one another in my frustrated head, answers started hitting my face, like calm gusts of wind, wave after wave.

I bought a pair of earphones, and for the first time in months, used them during the car ride home. Having instrumental music blasting in my ear, while staring at the blurry city lights outside the window…. Such a mind-blowing, relaxing, feel-good experience happens so rarely (not just to me, but to anyone in the world) that it has earned its way into becoming one of my ‘core memories’, a term coined by the latest Pixar movie Inside Out. 

Last year… 
I heard that a woman’s mind is a lot like a web – wherein one memory is interconnected with a bunch of other memories – while a man’s mind is a lot like an assortment of boxes – wherein each box is an enclosed topic. Tonight, it was as if electricity pulsed through my web of a mind, resurfacing memories from years ago, tidbits of yesterday, brief instances from 12 hours ago… and like a jigsaw puzzle, my mind pieced it all together. My whole body vibrated with the joy of “I finally understand it!! Eureka!” 

Weeks ago…
I reached one of my many lowest breaking points. I was so sure I had no purpose, no worth, no reason to continue on. I was reminded of every problem the world was suffering and I told myself “I can’t anymore. I don’t want to anymore. No more, please.” I was hell-bent into believing that I was not hardwired for this world. That sometimes, the universe does a tiny little hiccup, and in the end, chokes up a pathetic mistake like me.

But tonight…
What I realize is that I have always been so selfish. I was always concerned about my calling, in how I felt every day, in what I was thinking, what I wanted, what I didn’t have. It’s such a narrow way of thinking. It was as if I were in a labyrinth, trying to find myself. I would have found what I was looking for faster if I had looked at the whole map. Instead, I looked at my own two feet to see if I was walking straight, forgetting completely what I was looking for in the first place.

Months ago… 
I fell in love. And like a lost drowning man in a sea full of thrashing waves, whenever the bliss of the deep dark nothingness tempted me to stop breathing for air, I would think about his eyes, and how much they’d wince in pain if he ever had to stand in front of my coffin. I used my love, admiration, and respect for him as my personal buoy to continue living.

All this time… 
Whenever the darkness wraps their arms around me at night and I had nothing but my bare hands to wipe the tears away, I would think about my families – my blood-related family, my Search-In family, my cosplay family, my friendship-bonded family, my Victory family, and how much it would hurt them if I successfully hurt myself. I used my responsibilities as an eldest, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend, to continue living.

A few days ago… 
A friend of mine told me, “You should not only live for your loved ones, but also for yourself.” Remember every single thing that has made you unique, everything that has made you you. Inflate your own life vest by blowing your very soul into it. Inhale your own characteristics, and squeeze them all in it. Be your own life buoy.

But, tonight…
I’ve realized that, using love, responsibility or confidence may work for other people, but not for me. My life consists of  every person I have ever met, loved, hated, admired, but my life is not about pleasing them. It’s not about pleasing myself through eternal contentment with how I turned out to be.

I am not going to continue living just so none of you would cry over my death. Life should not simply be about avoiding a dark path. That’s not what it means to be alivethat’s barely holding on.

5 years ago…
I had another one of my “dark days”, and after I have stabilized, I wrote down my reflection. I wrote along the lines of “I can’t die yet. One day, I will be crossing the road like I always did, and a little girl will be walking a little too early. A truck will be coming at full speed, and I would have to be there, alive, to save that kid. If I die now, I won’t save that kid in the future.”

Tonight…
I remembered that journal entry with such clarity. I now realize that If I die any moment now, no one would save that girl. Sure, any other human being would see it coming and save her, but I have to think that I have an intangible role in the world. I have to believe I’m important, in a way that other people’s lives depend on me. I will save someone’s life in a way that no one else would. And so, I have to live for them. .

And by ‘them’, I don’t mean just that little girl. I aspire to become a film director, not to gain wealth or fame, but to reach out to the audience, and hopefully change a kid’s outlook on life.

June 26 2015…
When the legalization of gay marriage was announced, my first thought was about the kids. For some reason, I have this strong urge to help kid. I thought of the homosexual kids being confused about their identity because they grew up with homophobic parents, the kids that being called “gay”, the kids being bullied, the kids going through depression, the kids thinking of suicide, the kids being victims of our educational system, the kids with no money for school, the kids living with divorced parents.

And maybe this strong urge to help kids is part of my purpose.

Those helpless innocent kids, those people I hope to save in the future… I have to continue living, for them. I’m alive for others. We all are. Our greatest fault as human beings is believing that anything that we are is ours alone. Thinking that our kindness should simply be ‘quirks that will get people to date us’ rather than have it become an active work of reaching out to others is one of our biggest mistakes as a species.

Personally…
The thing that hit me the most tonight was remembering that day I was so so close to committing suicide. Grade 9 Sports Fest, 12pm right after the Angelus. I was on the rooftop, standing on the ledge. One more step. That was all it took.

If I do commit suicide, I would have blocked so many possibilites. I wouldn’t have had this awesome epiphany tonight and I wouldn’t have felt this awesome feeling. I wouldn’t have joined Search-In and become a part of Circle 15, and CirCore3. I wouldn’t have passed in the top university of the Philippines. I wouldn’t have started cosplaying, and met the funniest, corniest, most creative people ever. Tonight, my whole life since that day just flashed in my head.

I can’t ever commit suicide. Not ever. Not today, not next month, not during college, not after it. I understand it now. It’s not just about looking back and seeing how far I’ve gone. It’s not about looking at what and who I have now, and worrying about how they will feel.

My past and my present is not going to save me.

My endless possibilities of the future will.

Because I have finally found myself in that labyrinth, I no longer worry about where my feet take me. I have thrown away that so-called map. Instead, I look forward to every twist and turn, every nook and cranny. I will use hope – hope that I will save someone – to continue living. And for everyone’s sake, god I hope that this time, it works.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
― John Lennon

Existential Breakthrough

My way of coping

Written April 17, 2013. To this day, I still think this way.

I feel like there’s only one reason why I’m alive

 

And one reason alone. It’s not to create art, it’s not to leave something behind. It’s to save a life.

 

Everyday, I live off by this one thought, “One day, someone’s life is going to dependent on mine.”

 

Some mighty deity has created my story – a story of how, years from now, if I hadn’t been there, an innocent person could never have survived. I’m going to save a life. I’m going to die doing it, or maybe die trying, I don’t care. Because it’d be worth it.

 

This is what keeps me going every uneventful day. This thought is on my mind as I eat three times a day, as I read, as I watch, as I wait. This is what keeps me from harming myself. This is what keeps me going.

 

The thought that one day, I’ll be on the side of a busy road in a busy city, waiting to cross to the other side, and a little girl will be walking earlier than anyone else, and she’s going to be hit by a car, and I will be there to stop it from happening. I’ll be hit instead and in exchange, the little girl will be safe. They’ll send me to a hospital but it’ll be too late. It will be worth it, all this trouble to stay alive.

 

Everyday, I think to myself, “If you die now, who’s going to save that little girl? Who’s going to be there at that time and place where you’re going to be needed?”

 

See, that’s the thing about us – humans, people, humanity itself. We feel a need to be needed. This is just my way of coping. 

My way of coping