Only Onwards is an essay written by Nina Tundag and shared with The Ugly Writers under the theme Creating Sparks for the month of December
I’ve looked at life a lot differently over the years, running my fingers through each passing day like they were books on a shelf; best foot forward, full of hope and potential, waiting to be held but also being so great on their own. When you are not so much blessed with the easy, hand-me-down privileges of life, it can become quite difficult to navigate yourself out of the shadows that are darkened by the very likes of us. The world is cruel and I am hardly trying to be poetic here. It just is.
A lot of us who have had to deal with the tribulations of life so young, realize it young too. What is there to sugarcoat when you do not even truly have the means to? And life was great, no doubt it was, but sometimes only because we try so hard to pretend it is. I see that a lot when a friend pokes fun at me for something that really hurts him. A girl I once knew always stood on everybody’s side because she barely had any stand of her own. What he means by happy when he spells it, when he pronounces it into the air with the sort of conviction I am almost impressed by, I know that it is all drawn up by some fleeting, tangible, material thing — slipping like sand in his hands. Her need to curse her friends with the disease of her own misery is one I understand she cannot help because it is the way the world has taught her when her parents weren’t there.
I think a lot about why we do what we do and feel the way we do in the quiet rise of the day. When I am in front of something much larger than myself like the sun issuing hints of its arrival or when I am on the other end of a phone call with news that is heavier than anything I have ever had to carry, I swallow whatever little belief I had that could summon the wide varieties of my own delusion and pray to whomever wishes to listen. Perhaps I will even have my arms outstretched to the hurt, loving it so much that the bad is unfamiliar with itself. I hate the flatulence in my voice when I announce my forgiveness to the world and to the people who, like myself, owe so much more to themselves than they do anyone else. I hate that we are running from each other only to find each other again in this mess we have created. I hate that I do not really hate, that when an evening is particularly slow on a wall clock that does not know time as much as it did when it was first hung, I like to run my fingers through each passing day as if they were books on a shelf. I like to pick one out from time to time, blow out the dust that has settled with great ease, and fill in a chapter with a lighter stroke of my pen. It will glide through blissfully like skates on ice. It will not bother me like it did many moons ago. It will, I pray, feel like a dear old friend.