Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Part of the Crowd

After almost two months here, it feels good to have a semblance of my old self back on track, albeit with new people. I'm no longer the girl who needs to consult her TransitLink booklet to know which direction the train goes, or which number bus I have to ride in order to get to where I'm going to (well, at least in the general neighborhood). I'm now aware of the way each building at the Arts Link connect to one another, and how to get from one department to the next. I finally have a semblance of substance whenever I recite in class, and I can almost see how I can plot out the various papers and presentations and other requirements that a graduate student needs to fulfill.

It's hard to believe that next week is the mid-semester break, and that afterwards, submission dates will be piling up, one after the other. Today was the first time I actually had a graded recitation - I was assigned to be a respondent for a classmate's seminar paper in one of my classes. Habits are also being slowly created, and I'm getting to know my fellow students more - a bunch of us are actually going out next week to catch a movie and have dinner, and just have F-U-N. There is a sense of comfort now, a sense of familiarity within a space that's supposedly alien.

Last week, a friend from Manila dropped by to visit, and a bunch of us decided to go to the Zoo. And there was this moment when, while walking down the street fronting St. Andrew's Cathedral while the gloomy morning sky threatened to pour at any time, she turned to me and said, "Wow, you've adjusted pretty quickly over here."

And I look at her and go, "Why do you say that?"

"You look like part of the crowd already."

And I suppose in a certain sense, my awareness is really grounded in the here and now - and I find myself strangely satisfied in my place in life right now. Which is weird, I know, since I've always been someone who likes to push the bar when it comes to either professional or personal experience. But now, it feels like everything is moving at a more leisurely pace, that I can finally find out how I want to proceed with all of my life projects at this point in time. Everything's thrown up in the air like prophecy sticks, and the pattern of their descent is all that I need to decipher once they come down. But while they're still at that moment when they are suspended in space, I can afford time to think and be aware of what I want to do.

I think that now, there's less doubt in my mind of the stability of my position here as a graduate student, and as a de facto representative of my country, and as a person. Weirdly enough, with every passing day, I find myself sinking deeper and deeper into a comfortable kind of blankness, where the mind is now a white sheet of paper that I can fill in at my own leisure. No deadlines hanging over my head, no agenda to think off - just the sheer adrenaline of creation, waiting to be unleashed.

I suppose the problem before was that I've been forcing myself to create something mainly to satisfy the perceptions of other people. And I am aware that I have been prolific in the past, and that perhaps if I do push myself, I can come up with something that may satisfy the technical demands of the craft. But I know that I won't be satisfied with what I do, and that it will not be something I will look upon with pride. I don't want to do the same things that I've been doing before, and employ the same techniques and styles that I've grown accustomed to. I'm waiting for that moment where everything coalesces together into a coherent whole - what I have right now is piecemeal, fragments, parts of a whole. And I know that I can do it, soon - I can feel the faint stirrings in the very back of my mind, the rumbling vibrations of beginnings. I want to come up with something that can fully articulate everything I've been and done up until this point, and to look forward to what else I can become.

So now it just feels good to be able to breathe and to be unencumbered by the many roles I am required to play back at home. Here, I am just an anonymous face, someone in the crowd, free and without hindrances. It feels good to let go. I'm all good.

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