Sometimes I go to to a play, know almost half of the people there, and still feel like an outsider. Sometimes I go to the U.P. theatre department and feel like an outsider. This was not one of those times.

I remember going to see Labfest 4 Revisited in CCP a few months ago. It was my first time to step foot once again in CCP for more than a year. More than a year is a long time. I completely missed Labfest 3 even if I was supposed to at first direct one of the plays to which I deferred, then was supposed to participate in one of the staged readings to which after one rehearsal deferred, then finally to totally not participating at all – not even to watch any of the plays. I remember going to see Labfest 4, watching actors on stage who were people I knew, sitting in the audience next to people I knew, hanging outside during the ten-minute breaks with people I knew, and chatting in the lobby with people I knew – and thinking, I have been gone a long time and nothing has changed. Nothing at all has changed.

A year or so is a long time. I went back to therapy and lived in my Prozac world. I dropped all my theater classes. I went to live with my parents three times and while I was there, secretly went to another university to study digital illustration and animation, took a very interesting Political Science class, impressed my undergraduate classmates with my professor-level knowledge in the corniest computer class known to man and managed to last three weeks before I went half-crazy because I thought we were going to move to land-locked city in Texas where there was no beach in sight for miles and miles. I have been to Coron, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Siquijor, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, Iloilo, Guimaras, Pangasinan and even almost made it to Batanes if not for the cancelled Asian Spirit flight, all the while I was with child. We eventually moved out of the cramped and noisy condo in Taguig, stopped hanging out at Bonifacio High Street and moved into a two-storey two-bedroom apartment in a quiet neighborhood and started hanging out at quaint little places within a two-mile radius. Most of all, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. A lot has happened in the past year and a lot has changed. I have changed.

**
I remember watching Dead Stars 1925/Sepang Loca feeling bored, wanting to get out and not finish watching the play, thinking that if I were to spend time away from my baby, it better be worth it. Although I stayed to finish the play because I was not there for only myself, but for the friends for whom my presence mattered, it was then that I began to slowly realize that from here on, any time I spend outside the house is time away from my child and because of that, it should be spent on something worth my while. Gone are the days of just going with the flow, of waiting for people to decide what to do and going where everybody else goes. I thought that it just was not right for people to waste my time. Since then, I only went out to see my friends when I thought it was really important. When I had not gone out for a week or more. When I missed my friends. When I longed for intellectual stimulation and a chance to practice my rapidly deteriorating social skills. I began to identify and allot time for people and things that really, truly mattered to me. I thought it was just right not to waste any time or effort on people that were not really my friends or to senseless pursuits. Gone are the days of senseless pursuits of things and people that did not really matter or perhaps in other cases, for whom I did not matter at all.

**
Waiting for the play to begin, I went around to catch up with friends. Someone asked me if and when I was coming back and it took me more than a moment to come up with an answer. A lot of times I have asked myself that, when am I coming back if at all?

Hanging out in the lobby during the ten-minute intermission, I looked around at the various faces doing the same thing as I was, hanging out in the lobby and looking at the various faces around. These are all familiar faces. We know each other if not by name, by face. We have seen each other in other places other than the A.S. Lobby of Palma Hall, in countless other times before. When am I coming back, if at all?

It being a gala, we stayed after the play was over to chat with friends, actors, the staff, the director and other audience members. And someone asked me from the office, when am I coming back? By that time, I finally had an answer, “I am waiting for inspiration.” My friend laughed and said to me, “Go eat pancit. Maybe the inspiration can be found there.” Maybe indeed.

**

I am waiting for inspiration.

Coming back from the play, done with dinner but not quite eager to come home, we stop by our usual place for a bottle of beer and a cup of coffee and a lot of conversation. We talked about the play like we always do. In the middle of the conversation, a memory came back to me. It was that of what of Glecy Atienza said in a class while we were talking about the Virgin Labfest back in 2007. She said that if people in the industry only wrote whatever it is they talk about every time they watch a play, we would all be better off. Everybody talks, but nobody bothers enough to write what we talk about. Some people tell me I should write about what I see or write an opinion when I post my events. I tell them I am afraid. Not because I do not have anything to write about or that I do not have an opinion but simply because my opinion might count more than it should. The last thing I want is to be another Joey Ting, no matter if his intentions might be good or even that I completely understand what he does even if not what he says.

Soon, I will write down what I think. Not because I want to let people know about them but because I want to remember. People forget. I know whatever I think will pass me by and will be forgotten, unless I keep a record for myself. I will not try to pretend I know what I am talking about or that I am educated in the matter even if I may be. I will write what I know limited as it may be to my failing brains. I will write what I feel and what I think because I felt. I will write for nobody but myself.

I am waiting for inspiration still. But it might be round the corner. And it might be coming sooner than I expect. But if it does not, I guess I will continue waiting. And hoping it eventually will.

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