A year after my graduation, I feel more lost than ever. A year has passed… one year. So much has happened but I felt like I did nothing when in fact, I have learned more from that one year than in my four years in college. I, unfortunately (or fortunately), did not get a job right after graduation. It was a struggle. I kept applying to companies I didn’t want to work for and the companies that I did want to work for were either not accepting applicants, too far from where I live or just weren’t replying at all. I was at that stage for quite a few months. And in those months, I was just at my house, cleaning and watching films, being useful in my own little ways. I was going from interview to interview just so I could get out of these four walls that were slowly collapsing on me. My anxiety got worse and I felt like a complete failure.
When I was in college, I excelled. But I was slowly, painstakingly realizing that I was failing in the real world. The world that mattered. The world in which I live in right now. Then something happened. A friend and I decided to take matters to our own hands. We became freelance videographers, photographers and scriptwriters for real estate people… on the side. In actuality, we started planning this community and this YouTube channel. A community of artists and like-minded souls. We were actually playing with this idea back when we both were in a team for our internship at this TV network, but it was postponed due to thesis and other requirements. For months, we planned on videos to upload on YouTube, how to grow this community and write more stuff, shoot more stuff. We created these passion projects while we shot houses and apartments. We were even official photographers for this national event. We kept making stuff we wanted to make. Both of us are poets so we integrated that to our work. Spoken word poetry with amateur cinematography. They might seem like crap but we were doing something. We were doing what we love doing… telling stories in our own way.
Eventually, reality slapped me in the face, hard. By that I mean, my parents weren’t exactly happy with this whole freelance thing. They weren’t happy at all. To them, I was going nowhere. To them, my friend was a bad influence. To them, I should have just took Psychology instead of Mass Communications so that my income would be stable. Because to them, stability is essential to the world today. To them, I should never have fallen in love with filmmaking and poetry, I should have never fallen in love with art. To them, I should’ve followed their voices instead of my Heart. My Heart… at one point in this whole escapade, I stopped listening to it. My depression came back, darker than ever, anxiety kept biting me day after wretched day. I felt like I was disappointing everyone in my life. My family, my significant other, even my friends… my family most especially… definitely.
When you live in a country like mine, you’ll see how much we give all of who we are to our families. It is part of our culture. Family comes first. Blood is thicker than water. It’s always that. I have nothing against that, really, but it made me feel like I was pushing through river currents. Even if they’re not saying anything, even if they agree with all your choices, you still feel their hands tightly holding yours as if to say, “Hey, think of me, think of your siblings, think of your family.” Multiply that by a thousand fold, especially for me since I am the oldest of four. My parents usually keep their mouth shut but it’s apparent from their eyes that they expect me to help, even just a little bit, even if it’s just my siblings’ allowances, or the phone bill, or something. And for a time, I was able to. I got a job as a web journalist.
It didn’t end well. It didn’t even begin well, honestly. I worked for a start-up company, so expectations for every employee were through the roof. I did well as a content and SEO writer but I lacked in event photography. I was slow and my skills weren’t really as developed as much as I wanted them to be. I still needed to learn, I still wanted to learn. And truthfully, I wasn’t at all happy. Days keep dragging on and on in the office, I kept feeling like I had a clock inside of me and I felt every hour, every minute, every second. Eventually, the company had to let me go. Not because of my lack of skills but because the company wasn’t really doing well in terms of their financials. But I secretly feel like it was because of my skills, or lack thereof.
It’s been a month since I lost my job and every time I go on Facebook, or any other social media platform for that matter, I see people who seem so genuinely happy with their jobs. I see people helping their parents out, making them extremely proud. And I found myself drowning in envy. I envied people who were busy all the time, I envied people who kept talking about how their work involves this and that, I envied people paying their bills for crying out loud. I envied people who loved their jobs because I wanted to be like that, I promised myself that same thing right after college. I promised myself I wouldn’t be another dead-eyed passer-by to someone I brush shoulders with on the way to work. That’s why I did freelance work and passion projects in the first place. That’s why I kept my love for film, poetry and art burning. I refused to die in order to live “normally.” And sometimes I regret that immensely, sometimes… sometimes I feel like it’s the right thing to do.
If you’re wondering what happened to my friend… I don’t have the answer. We went our separate ways but more accurately, I think it’s our lack of communication. I’m still hoping that we would get to keep making films and poetry together but for now, maybe it’s best that we both figure out our lives individually.
Maybe I’m too idealistic. Maybe I should take that “maybe” off and just admit it. I am too idealistic. Reality is, I try to avoid reality as much as I can. I live in a bubble that I won’t allow myself to step out off. I still feel like a job in the film industry is the only thing I should take so that I could have a career in a field that might actually be rejecting me. I don’t know. And the thing that triggers me most is exactly that… I keep saying I don’t know a lot lately.
In this one year, there were times I was barely hanging on to the things that were keeping me alive. I remember wanting to let go of several parts of me because maybe my dreams really aren’t for me. I was so ready to butcher myself because maybe this is the world telling me to stop dreaming of becoming a filmmaker, a poet, an artist… To stop dreaming, period. Maybe my parents were right. I was confused, I was lost.
I’m still so lost. But for some reason, someone still believes in me even if she doesn’t approve of my indecisiveness. My significant other keeps telling me to keep going. Over and over again. She doesn’t want me to take a job that I’d eventually hate and she’s always there. Always there to assure me that I’m still here, I’m still breathing. She’s always there to remind me of life. To remind me that this is my life. And before I forget, there is another person who wants me to keep going. Yes, this person could be extremely harsh sometimes. This person is me.
In a year, I’ve grown so much. I felt like I was at the back of this race, barely breathing, barely catching up to the crowd but then I’ve realized, why do I keep trying to catch up? Why do I keep wanting to be up front? There is no race. There is no winner, no loser either. Everyone is running, walking, crawling at their own pace to make their own dreams come into reality. And so am I. So am I.
So here I am, looking for a job again, writing poems, practicing my filmmaking. Doing everything I can to feel alive. To be alive.