you are beautiful and necessary

I think I have a problem with accepting compliments. I used to be really bad and think they’re lying and look at them weird and just brush it off. But now at least I can say thank you and smile, because I am genuinely touched that they said such sweet things.

Yet, I still don’t quite believe them. I just think they’re being nice to me and not that I have merit or that I deserve them. My friend Tracy called me out on it, even before my performance with In Full Color. I didn’t realize I was thinking like that at all. She said I was talented and that I should do more this year. Although I told her I did do a lot in 2016, more than I ever done before. But she’s right, I could do so much more with my time and with my writing.

And now I’m catching myself kinda brushing off people’s kind words as just purely kindness. At least initially. I have to remind myself that people usually want to point out to others how well they’re doing. They don’t usually lie. I’m always truthful when I give compliments, so why can’t I believe the same for those who do the same towards me?

After every performance of my monologue “Psychotic Break” for In Full Color, people would come up to me and tell me my performance was:

Amazing

Fierce

Wonderful

Strong

Passionate

Powerful

Brave

Phenomenal

Great

Beautiful

Necessary

It catches me off guard every single time though I’m still able to smile and say thank you. Some even grabbed my hand and held it. Telling me I’m doing such brave, necessary work. That it’ll build support within the community. That they’re so glad I’m doing this. And it just makes me want to cry to be simply acknowledged like this.

So now, writing this, I feel like I’m doing a disservice to them to think that their words were just based on kindness alone. I’m sure they are great, good people. But I think they recognize something within me, that I don’t see, that’s truly fantastic and significant.

I’m eager to see my video once it goes up online. While I was onstage I heard sniffling and I even saw someone actually take a handkerchief to her eyes. Some of my family members cried too, as well as friends and even cast members. I wonder, will I cry too once I see myself on the screen?

My voice breaks when I get to certain parts of my monologue. It happens like clockwork. I can’t avoid it. Sometimes I’d even tear up and cry. But not enough to throw me off course. There were days when I would shake or tremble onstage and off afterwards. And I was extremely loud and engaged the audience and I felt totally different on that platform versus when I left it.

I’m such a different individual when I do the monologue. It contains many of the secrets I wanted to hide from the world. From myself most of all. It felt liberating to just speak my truth out into the open.

And especially when people accept it as their own and thank me for it.

I didn’t expect such a positive reaction. I was actually waiting for my parents to yell at me, but they didn’t. Though all I got from my dad was “Good.” lol.

I’m so happy people understand what I was doing. Trying to break the stigma and start a conversation. People actually came up to me and tell me about their mental illness and it felt so good to connect with someone on that level. After feeling so isolated for awhile.

I want to perform it again. A cast mate told me that she enjoyed seeing all the new layers I unraveled as I went deeper and deeper into the monologue with each iteration. And I think I did. I performed it a little more differently every time, with more dramatic pauses depending. It got to the point where it felt natural to be so open.

I mean, for a long while I’ve been open, but never to that degree. I spoke about my worst fears of waking up in Hell again. And going catatonic from all the delusions. I talked about how I don’t believe I’ll be this stable or this happy a year from now….

All out in the open. All for public view. And I would do it over and over and over again if it meant it could prevent someone from the Hell I went through. I meant those words, and I will mean every word until I say otherwise.

I hope I never do.

I’m getting teary thinking about all I’ve said. Every time I say it aloud or read it before In Full Color starts, I get so surprised at what I admit. It’s all true what I said, but just the fact that I was brave enough to say it, is just, wow.

But it felt good, and it felt necessary, to just share. I don’t want people to think they can’t admit they need help out of fear of looking weak or looking bad.

If I thought that, I wouldn’t be alive today.

Or at least writing this to all of you.

I hope I get another opportunity to perform this in front of a crowd. I hope I can move forward with my mental health advocacy. I hope I write more about being mentally ill, being Pinay, being queer, being every facet of my identity.

And I hope I get to connect with others most of all.

I want to keep growing and evolving. A fellow In Full Color actress told me that I should pursue acting, that all it takes is for the performance to come from a pure, honest place. Which I’ve done. I don’t know if I can act someone else’s material, but I love Skip Beat! lol. We’ll see where this past performance will lead me, but I think it’ll be at a really wonderful place.

I’m really glad I was able to perform and that I excelled at it. I was some people’s favorites and that made me so happy.

So maybe my next role should be as an actress. Maybe I should continue this path. There’s a call for submissions for musical, dance, multimedia, spoken word, and other performances for the theme of Borderless due February 28th at Jersey City Theater Center. I only have a few days to write something up but I want to go for it. My manang Bonnie asked me when I’ll perform next, and I told her I was performing that Saturday and Sunday, but she meant when is the next piece I’ll do lol.

Maybe Borderless will be it. I have to try. I think I can really explore how reality and psychosis meld into each other. Or maybe something else, I’m not sure.

But I’m going to try. I don’t know how long I have at being this stable and this present, so I’m going to take every chance I can get. Christian is worried that I’ll burn out from doing so much, but I think I can handle the workload. I just need to chip at it a little at a time.

And to remind myself that my words are necessary and meant to be read and heard. I am meant for so much more than the Media tells me, while in psychosis or not.

I deserve to be told I’m doing well because I am.

I hope no one convinces me otherwise.

eileen

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