The Impossible Garden
& The Wildforest
ART & STORIES BY MARICHIT GARCIA
In this country, Christmas lasts until the day of the Three Kings (roughly the first Sunday of the new year), so nothing goes down until then. The trees and the lights stay up. The 26th is merely a steadying pause after the intensity of Christmas day, and before the flurry of new year preparations begin.
My family (dad, mom, sister) and I spent most of Christmas day at the mall, where a whole lot of other families had the same idea. Lunch was a two-hour feast at a shabu-shabu & grill buffet. Then it was a series of buying more gifts for each other that were extensions of the gifts that were given the night before. My sister also had a few more gift shopping to do for other people. I wanted to shop for many things but the paycheck did not come in December so it was just a wee bit ache-ful to be so constrained. I also wanted to have bingsu but there was a very long line at the dessert cafe. Dinner was a simpler fare of breakfast-style meals because my dad was beginning to get tired of the string of rich and extravagant foods.
Meanwhile, I chafed at my lack of sufficient budget to give myself what I wanted. As the last few days ticked by I found myself growing a new wishlist. It's a very specific list, of things and experiences and circumstances and outcomes. Aside from my own lack of money, there is also a shortage of companions (with their own money and time) who could share and enjoy certain activities according to a similar philosophy and mindset. Still, the lack of companion is easier to remedy because I have long grown used to and fond of my solitude.
I am now thinking of revisiting, rewriting, and reviving my Life List, as inspired by The Mighty Girl. It helps a lot to write things down, and also being specific. My own personal rule about the list is that everything in it must be meaningful to me, not just items to do for the sake of doing it. Nothing half-hearted. Nothing that is expected by others, but only what I expect and demand of myself.
Sometimes I wish someone would just sweep in and whisk me off somewhere to make all my dreams come true.
For almost a week now I've been sick. I have been constantly having the threatening feeling of nausea or wincing through what feels like an acidic revolution in my stomach. I know it is all psychosomatic, and that I have been extremely stressed. The stress has become so intense that it is now manifesting physically in the same way it has always manifested since I was a child. My parents had often rushed me to the hospital doubled over with pain or throwing up, and the diagnosis would almost always be because of stress. Yes, I was very stressed even as a child. My stresses then had to do with school, and fearing failure (mainly because I feared disappointing those who would make their disapointments felt), and also occasionally out of fear of the things that go bump in the night (because I believed I could sense them in the dark, scratching through the thin walls that separated where they were from where I was. I was also a child that frequently had nightmares and would wake up screaming).
My stress these days is stemming from my decision to go back to employment next year, and also from the big demanding high-stakes project that I am scheduled to do for the first quarter. While it is very clear why I am making that decision, and also why I have said yes to the project, I still feel something akin to how a claustrophobic person would feel about getting into an elevator.
But I really, really want and need to do certain things in 2017. And from my experience no one else could make those things happen to me than me. I do not have a Stieglitz like O'Keeffe. (It is possible I do not even have a whiff of O'Keeffe's talent to merit a Stieglitz.)
So many little details are getting defined and sharpened in the last days of this year and it is painfully frustrating not to be able to move forward because of lack of resources. Yet another lesson on patience. Georgia endured years of being poor and having to work in uninspiring conditions. I cannot complain. I have to be resilient. I have to endure, even though it feels like I am many years too late, and all the odds are against me.
I am not too late.
There is always hope.
I am going to paint today.