This Sunday, I modeled for my long-time tattoo artist for a competition; he won second place. It was a revelation to see a sliver of tattoo subculture that was unknown to me before.

I lay on my side for 12 hours, save for short cigarette breaks my artist would take. Until now, I do not know how I survived those 12 hours of boredom, intermittent switching from convulsing pain and numbness, and being glared at by curious strangers.


It’s beginning to become more frequent and uncontrollable–that barrage of recollection of terrible dreams and the negative thoughts that follow when I wake up in the morning, every day.

I can always blame the pandemic, the lockdowns that do not seem to end, the suffocating feeling of being cooped up in a box for days on end and to only leave this box to buy food, walk the pets, or see a doctor for a check-up or a treatment.

I can always blame the weather, which for the last few weeks has been rather gloomy and rainy. The high humidity at night doesn’t help.

I can always blame the news, which has been filled with reports on the failures after failures of this government, punctuated only by depthless viral social media happenings that are labeled news, which, it is hoped, would dull the unacknowledged pain and rage of the consuming public. Most people would rather delude themselves than confront the truth that they have been taken for a ride by the man in Malacanang and his ilks.

I may also blame the plans that have to be set aside, postponed, ended altogether because the future has been rendered more uncertain by the events of late. For how can one look forward to the future with hope when the anxiety of sickness, death, debility blocks the view, becoming the most dominant element of the landscape, becoming the landscape itself?

But blaming these that are clearly outside my control may offer a temporary balm, easing for a brief moment the real emptiness that’s a routine part of being alive. I’d let the memory of those dreams and despondency stick around for a while until I force myself out of the bed, make coffee, and begin the day.