Day 14 to Day 19: Love Letter To Introverts
Third week's the charm! This thrills and terrifies me at the same time. There's so much to be written and I don't know if I will be able to write until the end, but why be a defeatist now? I've started something beautiful, and that should be enough reason to see this through. Join me?
14/100 → I'm coming to terms with my introversion. I'm finally understanding, thus appreciating, the times I need to retreat into myself. It really is about balance: all the times I am overly outgoing require just as much surrender, just as much rest.
I used to think that losing the mood for social interaction was a major personality flaw, and that I had absolutely no reason to feel tired or peopled out. I was confused for a while; I even tried convincing myself to be a true extrovert, the sunny face greeting you in the classroom or at the coffee shop, and the same sunny face, still, at night, when you sit around social circles with beer in hand. But the very fact that I feel completely drained is the surest sign of what I am.
Energy is something extroverts accumulate out of every conversation, something gained. While energy is something introverts have to give, something offered. Something that needed to be replenished.
So I've finally figured out that there is no shame in the need to recharge. Daily. So when you see me quiet, or when you don't see me at all, don't worry-- I'm only refueling.
15/100 → It can be difficult to start the day without the promise of surf. Yes, we've got to get used to waking up for other things: like giving the dog a bath, watering the garden, walking to the beach to just look at the sea, and looking forward to that no-fail first cup of coffee. And a grilled cheese sandwich if we're lucky.
16/100 → I take the greatest comfort in writing because it helps me make sense out of the otherwise abstract, purely emotional, and confusingly vague things inside my head. Finding words to express what was previously unsayable is a liberating experience. A humbling discipline. It doesn't even have to be the right words all at once. Ideas transform and the words develop their own shape through time.
Lately, I've found the same kind of magic to work when I talk to our dog, Nica. She has the look of a true and intent listener, and I am encouraged to speak more slowly, more discerning, and soon I am making sense out of the otherwise abstract, purely emotional and confusingly vague things inside my head. Who knows if dogs know any of this, or if they could at least feel it, because I would want so much for Nica to know about the quiet, candid moments she gives me hope.
17/100 → I was counting back the months since we moved here and realized it has been half a year since Harold and I hauled all our stuff into the back of our Vitara and crossed the northward expressways at 3 in the morning, headlights bright like stars. We didn't play music so we drove listening to the clattering and rattling of our belongings, each thud more excited than the last.
If there's anything I do miss about Manila, it is the feeling of leaving it. Manila is a great place to leave, which is oddly why a lot of people still come back to it. I miss traveling to different spots, even if it only meant staying for a weekend. I miss afternoons at Dada's kubo in Pundaquit and merienda with Mommy Fely in Liw-liwa. I miss Ate Joan's tapsilog in Baler. And the cheese pandesal in Lanuza. I miss Bidge and his feisty groms, and Tito Leo watching us surf from his house in San Jose. I also miss Ezra calling out "Yew!" when a set arrives at the Majestics.
But the great affair is to move, isn't it? It's why there are still more people and places to visit, but not as many as all the places we have not been to and all those people we have not met yet. Travel plans will be made again, that much I believe in. But for now, it is La Union and all its sun, La Union and its community strengthened by stoke. Our story here is just beginning. There will be a time when we'll have to hit the road again, nomads and gypsies that we are, and we will tell people about Elyu, its gripping sunsets, and how it's got soul for whoever may come looking.
So move, move out, and move again.
18/100 → If there is one thing you must know today, know this: you must never be afraid of being happy, even if it means creating it yourself.
19/100 → I will admit that I am competitive, but not in the "I always have to win" sense. I have learned not to pit myself against other people because their successes don't take away from mine, in fact they help build it. But I am always on the verge of "Surely I can do better!" and so I never seem to be satisfied with my surfing, and this has been driving me insane.
I can get pretty hard on myself and I don't advise for anyone to do the same. I'm still learning how to kill the impossibe-to-please slavedriver in my head, and I need to remain calm each time she lashes out: oh how could you miss that wave, oh you'll never learn how to duck dive, oh you missed that one again.
Perhaps going through this is the only way to actually get through it, get through the inner taunting and come up slowly. But too much of this will be a cause to be unhappy.
So I choose to write about this as a conscious way of exorcising it. Perhaps, with enough eyes on me, I'll snap out of my self-battling state. Perhaps, if I read the words again and again, I'll see the gaps in my logic and it will all appear incredibly idiotic. And I can finally just give myself a pat on the back for trying.
Most of us grew up in a home and a society that rewarded results. Grades, titles, labels. Perhaps it is time to start rewarding effort, because there is triumph in trial, an achievement in the attempt, no matter the work still needed to be done. We all need to embrace the imperfection of our surfing, or whatever it is that we do. Getting there is all the fun!
So patiently practice. Practice then take pauses. In this present moment, you have done enough.
Photo by Allen Aligam