In between awkward pauses, ducking from someone’s line of vision, treading lightly or squeezing to the side to make way. In between conversations made with people that reside in my head. In between indulging my eyes through the patterns in the carpet, ceiling, wall—anything but you. In between all of these, I have learned to live.
I’ve learned to content myself in quietly existing. In being pliant to your expectations. In effortlessly surprising you with my witty, sociable self. In between moments of inner diaspora, I’ve learned to navigate the world outside of me and discover that I can be kind to strangers. That I can be more patient with my friends and stretch my skin several layers deep to hurt for family again and again. By paying attention, I realized how easily I fall for the same person over and over again, without receiving anything in return.
It isn’t martyrdom; it’s just out of our control, which is scary but unimportant. In between moments of sucking air back into my lungs, I couldn’t help but embrace the strange charm of mystery and accept that not everything has to be learned. In between the world outside and the world inside of my mind, I exist, existed, will exist.
For I do not belong to a name (Jan Angelique Dalisay), a demographic (millenial), a race (Asian). These are but illusionary labels you find in documents. In the web. Or in person. I am an amalgamation of suffering and defiance. Of fears of failure. Of daydreams, of poetry. Of creative nonfiction and vulnerability. And I continue to multiply, even when I don’t see it. Even when the value of what I earn is relative. Even when I myself can’t answer: Who am I at this very moment?