fish, don’t die

i fed the fish swimming through
the blurriness of the morning viewed
through a window obscured by
my sighs

the rain you bring in this room always
half-chokes my hearing
to a muffled vacuum

where do you go?

i forgot how the shore’s breath
tastes like, how
the sweetness of music pounding, swaying
the milks of my heart
felt like

when i lean my face against the glass
i see the back of your silhouette walking
a murky path to
only you can know where—

did you just shrug?

i tap your shoulder
only the glass squeaks

where is your hand
when i dance through sakura trees, piano keys
tickling the falling petals, daffodils
floating around me

i’ve never seen spring bloom in
our room after all, so i
learned to love the rain

have you ever smelled
what they’ve all smelled?—
the vase of roses
i always wear

you must be made of dream material
i am just pink-painted porcelain—
skipping beneath
the feet of you and your fellow giants
playing chess, or
watching tv


Follow me on instagram: @nele_ponce
I have some poetry in there.

How to become an adult?

Until today when a friend presented me with this question, I’ve always dismissed it into a pile of those questions I care little to ponder over. Though when pondered over, it’s easy to fall into a superficial way of thinking into it. That is, many of us frame the idea of adulthood with clearly observable things–things like age, income, possessions, occupation, or responsibilities. But framing adulthood in this way often comes from those who lack these tangible things. It comes from people who wish to possess them when in fact, many of those who actually possess some of these things, perceivably having become adults, still don’t feel like adults. Of course, some find relief in simply not meddling with the label at all, caring little for where they are in the spectrum of adulthood (if there is such a thing). But I wonder, why does and should it matter?

In retrospect, labels can be self-earned badges that are necessary as rewards for the hurdles we’ve gone through. They become more vivid as we walk through the stages of life, and especially within our liminal periods where we’ve graduated from one label and have yet to adopt the next. It minimizes confusion, and gives us a sense of identity. At the same time, however, they can be limiting and can screen us from seeing alternatives. By finding a label to identify ourselves with, we become less open to the possibilities of other labels, further narrowing our world-views. In that sense, labels can be self-detrimental. It is thus important to loosely label ourselves–we label for the sake of minimizing confusion while allowing ourselves to be open to alternative possibilities (in fact I have yet to find a greater virtue than open-mindedness).

Now comes the question: what is an adult?

I’ve recently felt the pulsating rush of adulthood when I finally received my official license in the mail. It is not because I felt that I am finally one of those members of society with important places to go and so requires their own personal vehicle to get to those places (I truly think that the entire concept of necessitating a personal vehicle is superfluous and consumeristic). Rather, it was that sense of leaping forward from a lower ground to a higher one; of leaving something behind me and then starting the new path ahead of me. The path that opened with all the possibilities of what I had just accomplished, and that opened me to new, different, experiences. Not just new experiences, but new experiences that I must face alone, where I must let go of holding hands with anyone I was dependent on in order to progress (a fleeting thought: progression into . . .? Death? Perhaps all the excitement of approaching adulthood comes from a sense of uniting with death, a state of ambiguity and loneliness. I do not know if I speak of truth or mere poetics).

I felt a layer of weight remove when I got my first job too. It was that sense of independence; like I had taken off that puffy winter jacket my mother gave me that kept me warm and comfortable, but hindered my movement. Oh yes, and when I lost my virginity, where the rush of adulthood I felt didn’t necessarily come from a sense of letting go of something. Rather, it was more prospective than retrospective. It came from knowing that I had thrown myself into a new, frightening realm full of uncertainties; a pool of inevitable mistakes. But rather than it frightening me, it excited me. I will venture into this ambiguous new world I know nothing about, I will fuck up several times, and when I come out, I will have become wiser.

Therefore, adulthood breathes from this feeling of becoming wiser from difficulty and ambiguity. And from becoming wiser, we ourselves grow stronger. The world outside of ourselves become more vast, more uncertain, and more uncontrollable the more we know about it and the more we experience it; however, we gain better control of own ourselves and our own emotions. We harden and solidify in resistance to a fast-moving river of other liquids, other substances.

Adulthood then is not this comprehensive state of being that we achieve after reaching a finish line. It is not something that we become, as again, it is not a singular state of being; it is something we become more like. That is, we can only become more like a perfect adult, which exists only in Plato’s world of perfect forms. I don’t think anyone has achieved full and perfect adulthood. Instead, it is a marathon that never ends, and is perfectly fine without a conceivable end. And it is a marathon that should be enjoyed throughout the run.

diary entry 1/5/17

I’ve long come to a happy conclusion—several contemplations and philosophical self-inquiries later—that love is something you can feel only if you’ve learned to love yourself. This is obvious to many, and inevitable realization of life at least for those who meditate on the idea of love and the self and such matters. We realize that love is the end-result of a sense of independence and an awareness of your own needs and interests, like a squiggly line that straightens to a single, perfect, end point that twinkles. That love cannot be formed in whole if it was attempted to be made with only half; rather, love should exist as a whole before it experiences shared love. In other words, you shouldn’t try to find your other half in anyone else when your other half should already be filled with your own richness. It’s a simple concept, so much so that it’s overwhelmingly attractive.

I wonder, is it truly as simple as that? I’m not too sure anymore. How is it that I still feel pain for this love, even though I already love myself? At least I think I love myself. I’m sure I do. Or I’ve convinced myself that I do. I thought I did. Do I not truly? Maybe I don’t…

I still have unfulfilled regrets lingering after all, which cling on my back like a lightly heavy weight, which I’m not sure how to remedy, and which still remain a part of who I am. I’ve done many things that I take great pride in and that the old me would feel safe with knowing. Many redeeming self-improvements and experiences that might have erased my regrets. Yet, it seems, I have yet to redeem myself to myself, and the weight on my back has not dropped to the ground. I still walk with a slight limp, and still slightly slower than if the weight were off my back. I do not love myself entirely after all.

I can’t deny, however, that the love that I feel with William is in fact love. I feel it. I feel that it is true love; its own intensity the only proof I need to claim its validity. I feel it with the warmth in my heart when I imagine him smiling, or walking with his hands in his coat pockets, or slumping his shoulders, giving himself an aura of apathy, or when his half-closed eyes look lazily downwards at me. When I imagine all these—which have recently been blurred by my own latest problems and insecurities—I realize that I’ve been forgetting how to love.

I realize, just this instant, that it was not the world around me that had gone mad, which might have threatened the simple formula for the ultimate realization involving the experience of love: love yourself before you can love others. I needed not to engage in another extensive philosophical analysis in order to reconfigure the universal formula, for doing so would be reconfiguring it to my own insecurities (In fact, the gears and cogs within my brain were already logically sorting out the beginnings of a new theory which would undermine the original formula—most of which have already evaporated from my recollection). Instead, it was me who had momentarily gone mad from an old insecurity incited from a series of small incidents, and everything else in my life had coincidentally jumbled up in concert.

I might have to contradict myself by saying that perhaps I still do love myself. Perhaps I had only forgotten to love myself for a moment. Though I am still insecure (which I’ve just now learned about myself and now acknowledge), and I still bear the aforementioned regrets that weigh me down slightly, I love who I am nonetheless. I only hate my circumstances. Especially my recent circumstances. I’ve been really quite unhappy with these circumstances.

But I don’t think that they are circumstances impossible to fix, or at least get out of, as long as I have now acknowledged that I myself have still ways to grow and improve. I still have more about myself that I can love, all of which are still waiting for me to get there.

I’ve been angry (and still am) with William, with my relationships, and my circumstances because I thought I had my life comfortably sorted out. I was safe in all these expectations, and I fell too into the entire romance of my life that when they collapsed, I became lost. (It’s funny how I had to relearn everything I have just realized tonight. I had written numerous things about these same matters, and had given myself these lessons already. And yet, they had become so easily forgotten when my emotions become overblown and boil all the logic floating around my head.)