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"The revolution1 inside me is quiet and kind."

I say to myself as I brush my hair for the seventh time last Friday. I wear my hair like my crown: in glory. That is to say, I feel like all the pain in the world is surmountable as long as my shiny black hair cascades down past my shoulders before curling ever so slightly by the end. It's therapeutic, in many ways, when I fidget over my hair. It makes me feel like I am in control over something I do not find attractive naturally. (You see, I have waves, and I hate them. So I straighten them out because it makes me feel better. Control is calming.) How shallow, people say, to not allow yourself to embrace your flaws. In my head, I retort back: How sad, to never let yourself pretend and live out versions of yourself you like better.

Quiet and kind. Quiet and kind.

I have to remind myself to remain as such, even when the world yells out and becomes otherwise. 

Another revolution2 around the sun has passed for me. So much of my reflections in the last year, I've never written down. I never even bothered. I think, for the most part, it's because I was too busy living in the moment, enjoying newfound freedom (or the lack thereof, lol, sad reaccs onli), celebrating the biggest triumph of my life thus far.

But also, I think it's because I'm afraid that writing them down somehow diminishes their value. Odd, isn't it? Sometimes, keeping notes for posterity robs them the illusion of being — feeling — real. Because the words can never really fully encapsulate certain moments. And every attempt at restructuring them with sentences is always going to be futile. So I let them stay in my head, where they are pure, and untouched, and vivid, and colorful, and untainted by my incapacity to recreate them. Where I can relive them resoundingly in my head, as I nestle comfortably into muted smiles.

The truth is the revolution in me is loud.

Certain parts of me feel awakened, while other parts feel indifferent. These parts I cannot always reconcile. How dramatic, you say. But it merits a loud, heavy sigh — or a laugh, disguising a cry —  every time I realize some clocks are ticking quicker than they used to: biological, emotional, spiritual. 

The revolution in me is loud, but every day I try to find reasons to keep it down. Why? Because I actually like the pretense. I like putting on a brave face. I don't mind never letting my guard down. I don't like others fussing over me. I wear my brave face like I wear my hair: in glory. How tiring, people say, to always have to convince others that you are fine. On this space, I say back: How sad, to never let yourself pretend and embrace a braver, softer version of you, one that you actually like better. 

Quiet and kind. I have to remind myself to be quiet and kind, always, in all ways. I have the love of people I love, and the grace to accept the present, even if it means embracing the uncertainties of the future. What is there to not be thankful for? What is there to be so noisy about? Why bother myself with worries, when I can instead live in the moment — not verbalizing every thought, not overthinking every concern, not deprecating every second of pure joy?

The revolution2 is both quiet and loud.

But I hope the revolution1 in me will always be kind. It will be compassionate, and it will always surrender to my belief in serendipity, in goodness finding its way back to me at the right time. Because this is what I know best. Because this is the only way I know how. I will manage, and it will be alright,3 and it will be all right.4


1 - a sudden radical or complete change.
2 - the movement of an object in a circular or elliptical course around an axis.

3 - fine.

4 - according to fact or truth.



Seven excerpts, before twenty-seven

They say birthdays are a time for introspection. Well, I found my old college notebook from one of my poetry classes early this morning, and it did make me think about some of my favorite poems.

From "You Are Jeff" by Richard Siken

You're in a car with a beautiful boy, and he won't tell you that he loves
you, but he loves you. And you feel like you've done something terr-
ible, like robbed a liquor store, or swallowed pills, or shoveled yourself
a grave in the dirt, and you're tired. You're in a car with a beautiful boy,
and you're trying not to tell him that you love him, and you're trying to
choke down the feeling, and you're trembling, but he reaches over and
he touches you, like a prayer for which no words exist, and you feel your
heart taking root in your body, like you've discovered something you
don't even have a name for.

From "Small Wire" by Anne Sexton

As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.

From "Rain" by Danton Remoto

But you are here,
in the country of my mind,
wiping away the maps
of mist
on the window pane,
lying beside me,
as the pulse of the pillows and sheets—
even the very throb of rain—
begins to quicken.

From "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

From "Before Bed" by Zora Howard

I is a still wet concrete
and here comes you,
a brazen unkempt boy,
carving your gang signs all up alongside me with an unassuming stick.
Where is your home training?
Why do you make the city of me so unbecoming?
Your language is hardening in this landscape of mine.
Everyone will pass here
and what will they find?
That I am your block,
I am your boulevard,
your bayou,
And baby,
I don’t mind,
I don’t mind,
I don’t mind.

From "Send Me To The Moon" by Conchitina Cruz

Lay down your arms where I can
                stay in them and send me to the moon, forget the freaks
we ran away from one afternoon by the library, the guard whistling in the hall,
                                       the howl and swagger and the fall—
               Haven’t we all made that jump? Haven’t we all heard
the plunk, the mere grunt of you,
                        the mere spunk of you, reeking of musk
        while teaching me physics, crawling down the road piss drunk
                                                   at 3 am, plastered and master
         to none, pushing my head down in cars all over town—
                                             Don’t we all stoop and deliver?
And so, what now, hopping from bed to bed, all red with rage,
                         the age of the wine on the label tossed
                                                  in the wastebasket, the taste
         of it all, the last of it all, the pale madness of this song,
my thong tugged at again
               by your wandering fingers, still smelling of
                                 another sweet wonder—Don’t we all
have another? Where are my fangs?
        Where are my pangs of guilt for my sins, where the wince
                          in the eternal threat of end, how mend the night’s
            idiosyncrasy, the spittoon in the fantasy
                                         of ordinary life, your wife,
                             my darling nonbeliever, my unwarranted claim.

"It is not impossible to survive—" by Lauryn K. Alleyne

You have mastered solitude, struggled to unpack
the thick realities of time and matter. Love has flattened
you. Measured, you have faced your least loveliness.

How fragile God’s graffiti, the text of us scrawled
wild, twisted into this renegade, complex sentence
of living! How the making betrays and becomes us!

Look at the tree revise its body daily, spectacularly
rendered through the small violence of loss. If nothing
else, learn this: You are not broken, but rearranged.




Talk throughs and celestial (un)certainties

The thing about being in school for so long is that you stop feeling like having a life outside the four corners of most rooms - a classroom, the library, your condo unit - feels like a transgression. Any time spent with friends or family without books or cases, you start feeling guilty. Days are counted by the number of hours you have to either earn your breaks or make up for it. You never get to fully engage your self in certain social situations, because at the back of your head you're always worrying about crawling back to your readings.

Now that law school and bar review is over (for good, HELL YEAH), I'm slowly easing my way into having a social life. I get to have dinner with friends and have meaningful conversations that I can fully immerse myself in because things are - well, not easier, per se, but - less stifling.

Which is an opportune time, I guess, especially now that I feel like I'm going through an internal crisis of sorts. I'm navigating through grief, I'm coming to terms with certain realities about being an adult, I'm feeling angry and frustrated about our nation's institutions falling apart - and I can't do that alone. Or, maybe I can. But I appreciate the company of people going through the same things, riding out the same waves.

Of knowing that you have allies, in your principles and in your passions.

Listening is underrated. There is comfort in conversation, folks. It liberates.


Somewhere in the digital sea of old files in my hard drive is an old screenplay I wrote for class. I never got to finish it - never even got it to take off to any kind of conflict - but I recall it was about fortunes being told, and fates being decided by the stars.

A girl opens her palm to a mysterious lady under a tree. It was mid-afternoon when she stepped out of work for a smoke. The lady called to her and asked her if life consumed her the way the puffs of smoke did. Out of both curiosity and boredom, she approached her and sought out answers for questions she didn't dare ask. But my script ended there because I had no knowledge of palm reading, and did not have insights on what it meant to predict futures.

Venus is about to enter retrogade, so goes much of Twitter today. I try not to take these things seriously, but sometimes there is comfort in hanging on to so-called certainties found in celestial bodies. 

Scorpio sun, Libra rising, Moon in GeminiVenus in Virgo, reads my birth chart. What does it mean? I sift through readings, I scroll through interpretations. I press like when I recognize myself, which is just about thirty percent of the time. I know none of these matter in the real world, and almost all of it is never really true. But I still find myself Googling through meanings every now and then, hoping to make sense of feelings that shouldn't be there but just are.

Is this part of the quarter-life, suddenly seeking new lenses through which to view life?

One of my best friends has recently thrown all caution in the wind and professed faith in horoscopes. I message her about these fears of mine every now and then, and she tells me how "Scorpio" or how "Libra" I am, or reminds me that this is just how it is for "Moons in Gemini." I sometimes don't know what she means, but I find myself being okay with it. Normally, I would scoff at such frivolities, but these days, I feel like exchanges like this are more comforting than "real talks" where practicalities are clearly defined.

How naive, Karla. Also, how delusional. You think putting your head above the clouds makes sense? 

No, but, somehow it makes things more easily digestible. 

And I feel like this is probably how it is for a lot of people. There's a reason why millennials cling to astrology so badly these days, out of irony, but maybe also out of desperation. These horoscopes, and personality tests, and astral charts - all coping mechanisms, and to a certain extent, they work. If it gets one going and allows you to still wake up, find the courage to carry on, and do some good in the world, then why not.

Outside, people are starving, dying. There is turmoil, and chaos, and fear. There is this nagging feeling of "Why can't I do anything about it?" All that we've known, and all that we've been taught - they all feel useless. The world is becoming more and more cruel, slowly and surely gnawing at whatever is left of our idealism.

The future is scary and overwhelming, the present, even more so. None of us have the answers, but all of us have the same questions. I guess it's in these times where we're allowed to find something to hold onto these days, no matter how capricious.

Is this being a Scorpio, or is this just being a 26-year-old? 


Facebook's "On This Day" reminded me that six years ago, I was eagerly anticipating the release of Red. Yep, that Taylor Swift album.

October 2012 feels like a lifetime ago. I am no longer in that same head space, no longer heartbroken and tired. I no longer have the same feelings of love-and-hate towards Taylor Swift (these days, it's more of just ambivalence). But it is still my favorite album of hers, for many reasons, the first of them being "State of Grace."

I am turning 27 soon. In twenty-one days to be exact. I am both excited and terrified, because 26 was so good to me. It was incredible and exhilarating and generous. But 27 is a little more uncertain: no more goal posts, no more clearly defined finish lines. Only an open race that leads to... what exactly? I have no idea.

"This is a state of grace / this is a worthwhile fight," I remember singing this song while cramming for Persons as a first year student. It carried me through that exam. Will it carry me through this month, nay, this year?

Let's check in with "On This Day" next year to find out.


A very good friend has been telling me to keep writing. I don't have anything to write about, I say. And worse, I don't have the time.

Well, here: fragments of thoughts at 5:21 in the afternoon, on a Friday. It's not much, but it's still something. Maybe one day I'll get back to that screenplay. But until then, this will have to do.