Seven minutes before midnight. Lights out. A bloggerina fetches words from the recesses of her mind, choreographing each iota of idea into something comprehendable and meaningful. Is this writer's block? But why she still writes?

Weeks of woes have tormented me into believing that my senses are now as numb as my cold as ice steel headboard. However, in a chorus of emotions, I still hear that familiar voice, low and sad and hoarse, singing weakly but still audible. As the night stretches into midnight, that voice sounds louder as the others are muted. The voice of Pain. Very familiar, like an old acquaintance, whose presence never fails to open the crate of memories hidden under the bed of faux peace. Leave me alone!

I do not know where to begin. In the hopes that a flicker of understanding will be borne out of a few minutes of free-writing, I let my fingers catch up with the gushing of words and sensations that are too familiar yet strange.

Suddenly, I hear the words of that 80's song, It Must Have Been Love by Roxette. I heard it earlier this night when I was organizing my media library and it just stuck at the back of mind. A sugarless hardened bubble gum that is left either by a prankster or a mindless idiot (how redundant) that adhered to my school uniform. It must have been love but it's over now. Pathetic. I feel like a moron letting all these sentimentality crawl up my toes and coil around me, lingering around my neck making it slightly difficult to breathe. I should really shut up now. I really should for I may spill the whole gallon of milk when I intend to throw just a glass. No, I wouldn't wanna be licking the spillage.

I know what else keeps me up this late. I dread the future and all the uncertainties that it holds. I don't even know if my entrance to a reputable med school is a sure deal. A month ago, I was foolishly imagining a red carpet waiting for me and a swarm of paps, of course. A few steps from the finish line, I am back to zero. Back to the quarter life crisis that I seem to never really get out of. Talking about crises, it is becoming obvious how human beings always have to have something to blame. Thus, geniuses called psychiatrists invented these terminologies: identity crisis, quarter life crisis, middle life crisis, and... uhm, help me fill in more. For the nth time, I wrestle with the simple question of what I really want to do with my life. Once upon a time, not too long ago, I did want to become an MD. But. Again. BUT. There is a problem. Luckily, I have another crisis to blame: economic crisis. I can't stomach the guilt of still being a mouth to feed for the next five years. I could have. If and only if I was born with a silver spoon in mouth. The big question still pokes me. Granted that I'll be enrolled this June, am I really sure that I can endure it? I know a side of me too well. The part of me who would simply walk out of class because the teacher or the subject bores the demon out of me. The part of me who knows I have to do a certain task but refuses to just because I don't feel like doing it. The part of me who is insomniac on regular days but is so drowsy on the night before a big exam. The part of me who was never really a good student. NEVER.

I carry too much guilt these days that I might as well turn over myself to the authorities and sentence myself to whatever punishment that can wash away the this filth that jams the gears of my cerebrum. I am guilty of always stirring away from the path laid down for me by the society I serve. They wanted me to be this and that. Curse Robert Frost for giving a supposedly good girl like me the idea of choosing the road less taken. Often, I find myself defying conventions of the conventional society I was raised in. For a Maranao girl, career choice is pretty limited. Either you get a conventional job or be married off to a stranger. I do not see any thing majorly wrong with the usual, it's just that at the end of the day, I don't find any satisfaction at all. I can just follow orders and be just another goody-two-shoes BUT I am afraid that I will lose grasp of myself and whatever that is that defines who I am. It is perhaps easier to walk on the tamed, manicured lawn BUT my eyes always wanders towards the woods. I want to see more of the world outside this small town. I want to live a life that is different from the pattern of a regular Maranao woman.

"In everything you do, you have to leave a mark", said the maker of the pencil to the pencil according to Sir Yul. I took that line to heart that the idea of me fading into unwritten history is like having never lived at all. That's it. That word--LIVE. I want to live. Wake up each day doing what I love and steering the wheel myself. I can't be just a passenger but an reckless F1 driver. Never mind that I crash, the thrill is worth it anyway.

I am angry. Angry with certain people who manipulated me into being wherever I am now which is like a s*** hole. You. Remember when I told you that my greatest dream is to write? And to be the best electrical engineer and put an end to the frequent brownouts in our small town. To be a kick-ass lawyer. You laughed at me, didn't you. I was young then, voiceless. You tore my self-worth apart, made me feel that I can be of use only if I become a doctor. You made me feel that my dreams are not important, and sillier than the three stooges. I surrendered. Now I am falling apart.

I remeber that scene of the movie that my best friend Rashid made. (He said it was inspired by me. Thank you Daani.)


Aisha: Malapit na talaga ang board exam, kelangan kong pumasa, Imran. Yun ang gusto ni Abi(Dad). Yun ang gusto nila lahat para sa akin. Ibibigay ko yun sa kanila pero ang mas mahalaga, kelangan kong pumasa para matulungan ko ang kapatid ko sa pangarap nia, dahil hindi na matutupad ang akin.... Imran, ginusto kaya ng Lake Lanao na maging lake siya, na ang pangunahing silbi ay magbigay ng tubig, pagkain, transportasyon at enerhiya? Hindi kaya niya ginusto ang maging bukid na lang? O tao kaya?

Imran: Ewan. Sana naman ginusto nia. Sana tanggap niya kung ano siya.

Aisha: Anong ibig mong sabihin?

Imran: Tingnan mo nga naman ang lawa ngayon. Polluted. Unti-unti nang nasisira. Ang saklap naman kung ang lahat ng ito ay nangyayayri sa kanya pero hind pala niya ginusto ang maging lawa, maging anyong tubig. Di na nga natupad ang kagustuhan niya, nasisira pa siya.

Aisha: Ikaw Imran, tanggap mo ba kung ano ka? Tanggap mo ba ang kapalarang inihanda sayo ng magulang mo, ng pamilya mo?

Imran: Takot ako Aisha. Sana naging lawa na lang ako. Walang isip, walang damdamin, walang kinatatakutan, walang pinagtataguan.Sana naging bulag na lang ako. Sana tinanggal na lang ang talino ko. Di ko naman kelangang maging cum laude. Sana pinanganak na lang ako sa isang mahirap at di kilalang pamilya. Ok lang sana sa akin un, wag lang akong makadama ng ganito, kumilos nang ganito, mag-isip nang gainto, wag lang akong maging ako. Ipagpapalit ko ang lahat ng meron ako ngayon, wag lang akong maging ako.

The finish line is so near. But truth be told, I don't even want to finish the race. But I have to. Whatever that is waiting at the end of this, I really don't know if I am going to like it. The ghosts of my old dreams that I buried are haunting me now. My bed is never tranquil these days. A thousand what-ifs plague me like a swarm of dirty rats straight out of the Middle Ages.

Do you know the feeling of having to overdose yourself in caffeine just to be able to drag your butt out of the house because you really have nothing to look forward to in a day, that your itinerary consists of things that you must but not really want to do?