I thought about Getting Bangs™ as any mentally stable, very healthy person ignoring major life changes also contemplates doing, but then I remembered that my last haircut was in Taipei. I asked my friends who already left the Philippines for the States if I could use their leftover points from a scary Filipino budget airline and I went to Taiwan by myself for three quick days. All I did was stroll around until I found something I wanted to do, which was mainly street eating, and it was there I found the coolest hole-in-the-wall hair studio where I communicated to the stylist who spoke no English to do whatever she wanted to my hair. It’s long since grown out of that cut, but still, I can’t seem to bring myself to get it cut again. I now look like a lost Beegee.
I’ve been watching the latest season of The Bachelor, which should surprise no one, and found myself scoffing at all the 23 year olds on the show. They have jobs like “content creator” (re: Instagram thirst trap), “beauty queen” (if it’s not Dumplin’, I cannot begin to care), and “never been kissed” (which is not a filter on LinkedIn, it turns out). I made some shitty, anti-feminist comment on how they’re all going to pursue club appearances and spin-offs as a career which I then realized….that is more of a legitimate plan that I currently have. There’s nothing quite as humbling as thinking up your own Bachelor tagline. What could be said about me? Maggie, 23, “Has Been Out of College for 3 Years But Sometimes Can’t Remember What She Majored In“. Maggie, 23, “Unemployed Justice Advocate“. Maggie, 23, “Part-time Grant Writing, Full-Time Bingeing The Handmaiden’s Tale Until She Had to Stop Because it Got Too Scary“. I humbly ask an apology from my sisters Hannah (both B. and G.), Caelynn (but not Kaitlynn), and Heather. May you all find love.
Every time I eat a meal involving rice and meat, I instinctually eat it the Filipino way – with a spoon to cut the meat. I didn’t think much of it until I realized I was eating a pot roast with wild rice that way, and my heart hurt so much, I switched it out for a knife.
My parents generously bought me a POS car that costs less than one of our Labradoodles that I am not complaining about except that it is legitimately terrifying to drive. I got stuck in an endless loop of “I can’t get a job until I get a car and I can’t afford a car until I get a job” but now that I have my scary POS, I have to get that scary POS job. Anyway, the car is garbage (IT LITERALLY HAS BEEN GASLIGHTING ME) and had to get fixed; when it was returned after several weeks, I found a Filipino peso stuck in the cup holder. In this car I had driven maybe twice was one of the several peso bills I seem to have been shedding even up to four months since leaving Manila. I sobbed the whole way home from the garage while listening to “Delicate”, remembering the exact street I was on in Ortigas when I first heard that album.
I finally moved out of my parents’ house….and into another relatives’. But this new location is much closer to downtown and snuggled in a populous suburb where at least I can see people I’m not related to every day…and there’s Wifi. It only took me four days though, to go back home because a blizzard was rolling in and I had a fever and no one wants to be sick alone. So instead I made the wise decision to quarantine myself with eight healthy people like in those zombie flicks where an idiot has clearly been bitten but is trying to pass. I’m that idiot. I was so sick that I slept all day in my glasses, which caused them to break. My beautiful Sunnies glasses, the best purchase I made in Manila besides a membership at a gym. I cried sick Nyquil-induced tears until my dad helped fix them. They’re wearable but on their last leg. A woman I admire and respect once told me that the shape changed my whole face and made me “a woman who must be listened to”. A pair of glasses did that! And when they’re gone, what will I go back to?! My Costco glasses?! Does anyone want to listen to a face that says “I value myself but just at a Costco-level”? No way!
These are all insignificant nothings that have built up into my very real inability to move on. Be it physical reminders, or the way I hurt every time I see people I love doing things I know I would’ve been a part of if I was there, or even the blistering cold, I’m reminded how just how much I don’t want to move on so I’m just…not. It’s funny how I wrote about something similar a month after I moved back to the States, never expecting to be four months out and having little to show for it ((except for going to LA and South Carolina to help out family in some of the weirdest ways I’d never expect, but those are entirely different stories for another time)). At an alumni event, we were told that when you “leave the field”, it can take months and months to readjust “back home”. I literally scoffed when I heard that. Scoffed. Me. I. Ha.
I know when that right job ((my applications are now in the 30s)) or the right community or even the right attitude comes along, I’ll learn how to better compartmentalize. I’ll learn the stories that need to be told and those that will be tucked into a velvet-lined box in a closet to be taken out and appreciated from time to time. I’ll be able to look back fondly and look forward confidently.
But for right now, if I see one more damn peso….