Wake up mid-morning, no longer to a grind, but as a gladiator in the middle of an existential coliseum; don't spare any thoughts about why, instead, move your body. Fasted, with only body temperature water swilling gently in your guts. Don't buckle; don't let your fingers do the talking; don't wake up to a jampacked feed; don't dilute what could be original thoughts to other people's cry-for-helps filtered with their aesthetic. Don't wake up to like what you don't like. Don't wake up to a life you don't like. Don't wake up to a life you don't like. This is how you find yourself quitting a job you loved because uncertainty felt like liberation; this is how you quit a job; this is how you find yourself drowning in art made by dead females you admire—I know you admire them because somewhere along the long commutes in Manila, you wondered how you could ever express yourself again. This is how you express yourself again; this is how you throw yourself back to yourself, I know you can do this. This is how you find the words, in the middle of sipping lukewarm coffee handcrafted by a stranger. This is how you navigate entering a new decade, all power, all apathy, all disdain for every person you swiped right for but will never meet irl. Listen, I hear you, but you have to wake up every day not listening to anyone else, because this was how you lost yourself before. This was how you became a grown-ass girl on auto-pilot, this was how you became distant from the putrid soil. This was how you ended up looking for solace in the colorway of a pair of limited editions; this was how you self-medicated with every glass of healthy green dross—sipping what you imagined could change your genetic expression, distracting yourself with the abstractions of health. This was how you could stomach small talk in meetings that looked important, looking in from a frosted window with a sliver of clear glass—you had good posture, your finger primed to press for the next slide, you had a point, you made it. This is how we get you out of this—you breathe like human beings have done so for millennia. This is how you breathe. This is how you never lose yourself again to fifteen seconds of uninterestingness, to overpriced farmer's markets, to representations that don't represent you and your shame and your truth and your capacity to grow through the cracks. This is how you listen to yourself, how you get rid of nihilism that depended on your next big paycheck; this is how you get rid of performing for a blue ribbon pinned on your brain for every fuckboy; this is how you grapple with the nature of your possible asexuality; this is how you own your brand of pleasure and fears; this is how you return to that 12 year-old who longed for connection in MySpace and early Facebook; this is how you live the sincerity of your status messages as an adolescent—away, brb, smile like you mean it. This is how you sift for the terroir of your soul; the time to talk to your mother and ask her, what were you most afraid of when you turned 30; did you feel like dying but also in control of your destiny; did you love my dad differently then; did love feel enough; did your c-sections make you sad and dislike yourself; did you also still feel like a child? This is how you continue. This is how you will conquer the digital boundaries of your life; this is how you will provide solace to yourself, this is how the next revolution will be fought—off the screens, ankles sunk in mud, your eyes to the sky; this is how you will make your own sustenance; this is how you will continue to move, every sinew stretched and loose; this is how you will remain honest, you will need to remain honest, you will need to say, I am afraid of becoming just like her, you will need to look into your front-facing camera and be able to see the outline of a person you feel fondness for, you will need to look away, you will need to say your truth out loud. This is how you grow.
Inspired by Jamaica Kincaid's Girl. Art by Brian Calvin.