I don’t know how to write anymore. I don’t know how to put into words the all-encompassing jungle of emotions in my head. All I know is that I feel; I feel so much it’s overwhelming. I have lost my way with words. I do not know now how to push through with my thoughts, vanishing already in vapor trails as I type these words.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been going through a difficult time with myself. This inner turmoil has been brewing since last year, and like a tea bag with aromatic dried leaves, I have been steeped in way too long in scalding water.

Everything is out of focus. There are days when I no longer remember what it is I have been aiming for in the first place. Where am I going? I always ask myself. It’s so hard to think through the fear in my throat and the helplessness in my veins. I have lived so long, so long, in this pale blue dot in the universe, but what for? Suddenly, I feel so ancient with my 21 years.

Writing this is my way of reminding myself why I am here, and what it is I stand for. Like Arya Stark and her prayer strung with names, I will say these things to myself to never forget.

I am Sjerlive Clare Dioneda.

I am on my way.

I am becoming.


Loop’s End

It was in between waking and unconsciousness—that slow, inevitable descent into the inky pool of sleep—when a quiet epiphany encroached upon me. Long months of helplessness and lack of motivation, months of crises, months of living short of oxygen, suffocating inside my own bell jar. All because I wouldn’t allow myself to let go of the reins, to let my person be free.

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Canis lupus

A wolf the color of snow pads silently, leaving a trail in its wake. It is on the hunt. The ground is frozen white, with barely any hint of the vegetation underneath. A twig snaps in the distance and the white wolf lifts its head, its ears pricked. Even from a distance, it catches the scent of an outsider—someone who doesn’t belong to the pack. 

The white wolf shifts, its muscles tensing, ready.

It tastes the unmistakable metallic tang of blood in the air. 

A steady growl pierces the thick atmosphere and red eyes light up the gloom. From a thick cover of trees, a dark wolf emerges, its coat the color of coal. Out of place in these gray lands.

The dark wolf bares its fangs. Dark liquid trickles from its canines and stains the immaculate whiteness of snow.

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Of Being

When did it start―the unraveling, like an accordion or a previously coiled ribbon? When did the unfolding commence? When did you explode, the universe within you hurtling into its own big bang?

There were signs: the perennial sleepiness, the exhaustion which wouldn’t be cured by rest, the infrequent laughter, the frequent bouts of sadness. You felt the change in your bones, and you tried so hard to fight it. You tried so hard not to become the failure you’ve always feared.

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Two Days, Two Letters

Monday, October 7.

Dear A,

It wasn’t the familiar tone of your voice that did it. You looked at my diagnostic cast with such intensity I was worried it might melt. You were mad about the base which was so thick. You were pointing out that I’ve used too much gypsum. And then you told me that I shouldn’t waste anymore because I wasn’t the one paying for the materials.

If I can kindly point out: I bought a pack of gypsum in Quiapo. Precisely because I knew I was going to need more. And I also had some gypsum from a friend. I just wish you wouldn’t go about assuming things and hurting people in the process, especially when you don’t know the story. All I’m asking for is a little consideration,  a hint of kindness.

I might as well fail that subject requiring that diagnostic cast anyway.

Tuesday, October 8.

Dear B,

I fully understand the consequences of my actions. I knew I wasn’t supposed to do it that way but whenever I found it difficult, I did so. But I never made someone else do it. I never brought my work home even though I wanted to because I needed more time. It never slipped my mind that I have an enormous responsibility to my future patient.

And now I feel like I have done all those things, like I have cheated on my future patient. Because you basically called us cheaters. Because you called us cheap for only wanting a grade. Because you told us that we didn’t deserve to be in UP.

I don’t think it was only the trust you had in us that was broken today. My trust in you also shattered. You were my favorite! I believed in you so much. You have words that can heal, words that can empower. Until you walked towards us with such disappointment in your eyes that it broke my heart. I can assure you I didn’t do it all the time. Still, you make me feel like I have. Like it’s the only thing that matters. And when you spoke to us, your words were different, foreign. You spoke in utter disbelief. And then you brought up the UP card, the condescending tone. And you told us things I never thought I’d ever hear in my life.

You broke me. I know it’s not enough, but I’ve tried so hard. I always thought it would count for something. I’m sorry I cannot reach the standard of perfectionism.

I’ve been trying to look for a reason to stay. Instead, I found one of many reasons to leave. This is the last straw.

I hope you only said those words because you were angry. And I hope nobody ever hears them again.

Never call a child a cheater. That is how you break a person. That is how you wreck the fragile capsule of a being.


I’m going through a lot right now. I just can’t believe it: two days in a row! I wonder what’s in store for me tomorrow. I hope the streak of this hell week would be broken.

I cannot go through Dentistry like this.