Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Glad to be Sad

18:05. Los Angeles time. We had just landed on the tarmac of LAX. After 12.5 hours on the plane, I couldn’t believe I was back in L.A. But it wasn’t the kind of disbelief that came with excitement and exhilaration. Somehow, I felt unhappy.

My sister picked me up and took me back to my home in Boyle Heights. After she left for her apartment, I stood still inside mine. I opened a window to let air in and allow the enclosure to breathe after a long while. And then, I took a good look around.

The sofa and bed were neat and tucked as I left them. The fridge was on with a handful of the same items left. The TV and audio systems were still working. Shoes in the rack, books in the shelves, photo frames on the table - all have gathered not enough dust to scribble anything.

Water flows. Lights turn on. I open and close each door in catatonic repetitiveness. An empty hamper. A stack of clothes for ironing. Cupboards with cereal boxes, condiments, kitchenware, and whatnots.

It was quiet, very quiet.

I was alone, very alone.

After a month of having so many people around me, I suddenly found myself with none. It felt desolate. I remember this is the sentiment of new (Filipino) immigrants when they come here. Those not able to endure the loneliness are bound to return home. The melancholy I felt became seed for an aptly titled poem I will post after this.

But I was glad to have felt sad. It meant I need people. “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world,” as a song goes. Soon I will be getting together with relatives, catching up with friends and working with colleagues.

I was glad I felt sad because it gives me a chance to recognize happiness. It is a balance in the order of things: no light without dark, no sorrow without joy, no victory without defeat. It won’t take long to regain my footing and continue towards improving the quality of life I am living.

Happiness is also a state of mind. You take in the external and the internal, and make it work for you and the people around you.

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