I once read that January came from Janus, an ancient guardian of doorways and portals, a patron of beginnings and endings. So did Jan, the first name I was given by accident. It must have been an accident, for I am no guardian of openings. I am no goddess of beginnings, not when I am always the one worshiping them.

There is a poem here, I know it. I don’t know why I cannot start it.

This year has been all about strange feelings, the return of ghostly chapters and doorways I have been trying to keep closed. For nine years, unfailing, I have met sadness on January 30. Don’t ask me how and why I’ve kept track. Don’t ask me what it means or why it matters. All I know is that January 30 arrives and so does this heavy visitor. Some years, like this year, it doesn’t leave right away.

I’ve been trying to set motion for days, trying to jumpstart my heart and my hands into working real hard. You know, to start building the life of our dreams. But it’s painfully difficult and I can’t pinpoint why. It feels like trudging through mud, or quicksand.

Last year I caught up with a close friend I hadn’t seen since graduation, and I told her all about what had been happening in my life. About how I kept moving from place to place, about how home was just a label and still a blurry one I can’t stick anywhere. What she told me was that I lacked stability. I always had, emotionally, but now it was real and because of it I was suffering. She said I had this one thing – love – that was my only remaining shot at stability, at least for a while, and she was hoping with all her heart that it would be it. It would be the thing that stays and doesn’t blur.

It’s not hard to make me cry, but yeah, I cried. Because she was right, and it’s always a comfort to hear your pain realized in someone else’s words.

I read somewhere, though, that in any relationship someone gets to be a drifter and someone gets to be a home. The drifter needs someone to come back to for certain, and the home needs somebody to wait for and to welcome. Two drifters can be and two homes can be, but it’s not likely to work. You can be both a drifter and a home, but you need somebody to be the home to your drifter and vice versa. You need somebody who understands what’s going on and breaks the ground to put it to work for you, just as somebody needs you to do the same.

I am no doorway, no guardian of beginnings. I’m a drifter and I need a home.

P.S. This space is on its way to becoming a backstage room. In three days, I’ll be moving to a new safe place: I hope you’ll follow me there! I’ll see you soon.

P.P.S. Do reach out to me at applenocom(at)gmail(dot)com <3

“When they don’t love you the way you want to, you mourn that for however long you need to. But then you get back up and you remind yourself.

You are not a reflection of the people who can’t love you.

You will love again. You will be loved again.”
— Caitlyn Siehl

I realized that I like connections–I like finding or creating them between things.

I love metaphors because I loved finding a single, obscure thread between two seemingly unrelated things. I love branding because of the questions you ask about identity: what are all the colors, images, words, ideas that will add up to this one name I am trying to make? I love recommending people new things because I love finding out what they currently love first.

I think relationships are incredible. I love the feeling when I figure out that something connects! It works out, it just does, by virtue of what you are without changing a thing! Am I completely spazzing out over an abstract concept again? I think so!

It’s given me a new appreciation for art and literature. In a single story, or even a scene, there are so many elements I can draw relationships between. And I love the artwork or story I’m looking at when I realize that the connection is there! It works out! It fits. It’s a strange harmony.

I wonder if this is what I’m looking for.

Hao Jan Chang

Things haven’t been so good.

This week I’m recovering from a weird, emotional breakdown that hit me over the weekend, just when I was trying to put myself in order. I don’t get it. I don’t fully understand what takes place whenever I get stuck — especially when the world has me convinced that getting yourself unstuck is easy. Apparently, it’s not true.

I want to talk some more about what happened, for several reasons, and I have long believed that conversations about mental health are important. Yet, it doesn’t seem to be the time. Right now it feels like talking about it might bring me back there, and I don’t want to risk it. It’s such an uneasy time, and I am trying to learn to hold these things in.

For now, a few reminders of happiness for me:

  • 9 new rolls of washi tape from Hey Kessy!
  • This guy.
  • School visits. It surprises me whenever I realize how much of a home I found and made in Ateneo. I wish that I could go back and do it all over, and appreciate it more.
  • I’m catching up on some of my goals for the year by learning new things: I got a slow start into calligraphy and the ukulele last week.
  • Bursts of inspiration, rare but deep assurances that I am not the only one feeling the way that I do. Let’s file it under “good feelings.”
  • Birthday week/month is approaching fast. Who wants a wishlist?
  • FRIENDS and One Tree Hill marathons.
  • Hope. Tiny, tiny, tiny drops of hope. They make all the difference, don’t they?


1. I used to think I was a water person, but while growing up I decided that I really belonged to the sky.

2. I found a list of ten things I loved about you. I was starting to wonder where it went. (Double meaning intended.)

3. I could write a book with all the things I left unsaid.

4. I cope. All we do is cope.

5. I don’t even have the words anymore.