We’re now in the month of August of 2019, the eighth of this year’s twelve months; sixteen months since our mother passed away, and more than halfway through my 31st year of life. Time, or rather, its fleeting and ephemeral nature, is something that I’ve obsessed with as of late, like a splinter in my head that causes me a malaise that I can’t seem to properly describe with words.
It is, after all, the scarcest and thus more valuable resource for me right now, not even water can begin to compare to the importance of time.
Ever since my original plans and road map were thwarted as an indirect result of the latest political crisis in Venezuela I’ve spent a considerable amount of this years’ time in formulating a new way out of this country for both my brother and myself. This massive dent in my road towards a new life coincided with a handful of incidents and conditions that pushed me to the limits of stress.
Peace of mind wasn’t something I had during those days, I can tell you that much.
Be it by fate, or by the hand of God himself, life presented me with the most unlikely of hands, which are the ones that I’m playing right now. Now that things have calmed down and the country returned to its accursed stagnated status quo I’ve started to resume work on my novel while I attempt to solve the puzzles of our new escape plan and its chimeric bureaucracy. I can’t proceed with the next step until I receive a specific document, much to my dismay.
This irksome waiting period between documents has served for me to think about things on a personal level—that’s when it clicked on me, thirty one and a half years after I was born, the rather sad realization that I haven’t quite lived a life yet, at least not one that I consider to be a life lived to its fullest, and always with only a modicum of normalcy.
Those things you expect from a normal teenage, such as parties, movie nights, and whatnot? None of that stuff, I completely missed it and instead lived a sheltered life. On the other hand, I never partook in the (sometimes dangerous) excesses that a teenager is very prone to in this country, so there’s that silver lining.
Moving to Caracas in 1999 did a number on my socializing, such a radical change for my young self, coupled with other stuff that happened at the time (parents divorce, less than stellar family interactions) made for a rather sheltered and withdrawn life; constantly switching between schools always made me the extra piece in any given puzzle that didn’t quite fit in with the rest—be it because of the age difference (I was always 2-4 years younger than the rest of my classmates) or because I simply had other, more innocent/naive interests and passions when weighed against theirs.
Most of my high school and college years were spent in a “From home to school and from school to home” kinda routine, I tried to focus to the best of my ability in my studies and yet I don’t have much to show on that regard, I never quite achieved the same exemplary grades I used to easily pull out when I was younger—especially towards the end of my college days.
Whatever that may be, everything I did or didn’t was and is part of what I am—or if I’m to paraphrase a certain franchise: I am a monument to all those sins, theirs and mine. Finding peace with my past and stop drowning in cycles of “what I could’ve been” is one of the reasons that I’m writing and sharing these lines, or at least to try obtain a brief catharsis so that I can better focus and continue my efforts towards building a new life.
All in all, I suppose that being somewhat sheltered and lonely for most of my life nurtured a massive personality flaw that I have; I tend to neglect myself and put the needs of others over my own even to my own detriment, which I don’t consider inherently bad but at the end of the day I tend to not quite value myself as much as I should, despite all my flaws and shortcomings.
I do tend to put my personal needs—my health even—in the back burner and opt to focus on the bigger tasks at hand: getting us out of here for example. Then there’s the routines and cycles that comprise the sheer majority of my time these days.
Making sure that we have water and bread, make sure that we’re stocked on food (with the added risk of blackouts that can happen at any time now I keep a delicate balance of things), make sure that I put a warm plate on my brother’s table every day, keep everything clean, et al.
These are all valid responsibilities that come with being an adult, but these are duties that leave very small room for that child inside me that never quite grew up—that part of me that loves to dream and imagine, that always years to create something that lasts, the one that now sits in front of a ~630 page draft that comprises the first chapter of a very long crimson dream.
I’ve pretty much put most of what personal life I do have on hold until we get our hands on that last piece of the puzzle and get to board that plane towards a new life, even if its not an ideal thing to do.
For someone who botched it hard at life during its teenage and early adult years, having come up with the unwritten realization that I’ve been fulfilling both the paternal and maternal role for my brother ever since our mother passed away has been quite the radical shift and a most noble journey. We never had a good paternal figure to look up to, and I have to be one for him now more than ever.
It is what I signed up for when I promised my mother that I’d take care of my brother and see through that he lives a new, better life outside these borders, and that is the main driving force that keeps me going, even when I’m physically a wreck and I am five years late on my thyroid checkups.
That’s what I want the most, for him to live his life to the fullest, for him to live in peace—the clock ticks louder each day for me though.
It does get lonely at times, I don’t particular find it easy when it comes to unloading my woes unto others and I don’t quite have anyone else to talk to these days in a face to face manner, hell, a lot went unspoken between my mother and I simply because I didn’t want to burden her, she already had enough on her plate as it was. This is, I suppose, a way for me to do it, to open up a little.
Once all is said and done, when we’re finally out of this country, my book published, its second and third entries underway, my brother starts his path towards learning what he wants to do, and I work out a way to help others with what may come out of my book series—yeah that’s where I’ll try to live a little I guess.