Thursday, March 23, 2006

Our Battles within

A page of an offline journal I've had written in 2003.Maybe some of you can identify with this since most of us has our own battles within ourselves anyway, and has been confused to the things we wanted to do some time in our lives.

"It's really hard to find yourself when all you've done since graduating was based on responsibility and cause. So much of it that the real interest that you had when you're younger has become vague because it has taken a back seat of the things you have to do to survive. When I was younger I used to love reading a lot of books on literature and mythology. Books that most of my friends and playmates just ignore in the library bookshelves. I love reading these books becasue i'm fascinated with mythical adventure and heroism. Some of the characters has really intrigued me more than the others-- Hercules, Beowulf, Sigfried, Galahad, Roland, Theseus… And Hamlet-- my favorite of all Shakespearean plays. They had one thing in common: They were all troubled heroes--waging wars with their own demons. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not imagining myself as a hero. Though I am waging a battle too… within myself.

Eight months ago before I retuned back here in Singapore, I went home to my parents' house and went to my old room, I saw some of the drawings and stories (in comics form) I've made when I was younger (around elementary to high school). I smiled as I saw the amateur drawings and the crooked English printed in the cheap bond paper and colored in low-priced colored pencils. But there's no tawdriness in the way it was drawn. Because I can still remember that each of the pages were made out of conviction -- just for the cause of passion for the art itself. Not thinking of monetary exchange… A far cry for the person that I have become now. As I flipped over the frail, weathered and almost torn pages, I saw the signature below with the name "Reybronx" written in there. Reybronx wasn't only a pen name. It's an entity. An alter ego. He was the person I've become when I was in this "different" dimension. A person who was oblivious to the real world when he start to create all these heroes in his mind and put them into ink and paper…His hero, like the works of his idolized comic creators was an underdog, always struggling for the impartiality of his cause, going through tribulations that ordinary men find impossible to accomplish. Of course in the end he emerged triumphant, his aspirations achieved, the villain defeated, and the overall evil has been forever perished. It doesn't matter if he's drawing stories about a ninja making a wrong straight, a samurai defending his honor, a knight making his quest for a lost birthright, or a Viking fighting monsters along with Odin. It's just a different high being in this state. Far different from the ones that pot and stones provide.

Then came 1993. Reybronx, the self-acclaimed author (kuno) and artist, suddenly stopped his comics works to give way to a busier me. Architectural Plates, apprenticeship and all the hordes that come with being a third year architecture student took over. Though I still write and drew cartoons (for the student paper, since it's the one paying my tuition), it was never the same after that.

After my graduation, the comic creator that was Reybronx suddenly was nowhere to be seen. It as if that fountain of creativity in my youth had stopped giving forth its precious fluid, and exhausted itself and gone dry. Then work, more work and the aspirations to be better in my field being a new architect has corrupted my systems and buried more of the memories that once, I can just sit in a quite room with a table and chair, as well as some empty sheets of paper, a pencil and drawing pen and I’m off to never land--drawing my way to places where kingdoms and castles stand. To the realm of Khans, Shoguns, Sultans, Czars, and kings.

Though in the span of time since I stopped doing comics for my own, I still see Reybronx's reflection once in a while--In the eyes of the people I came to love. It's like a bolt of electricity coming when that happens. And I came to really see him often in the eyes of the women I feel deeply amored with. Then I came to realize--Reybronx is the passion that is in me. It's real love. He was there all my growing years when I was creating all these comicbooks simply because it was what I love doing all those years. And I did not realize it but he was there when I first fell in love, he was there when I first broke my heart, he was present when I fell in love again with my wife, he was there when I lost steem of myself and decided to just throw it all, but most of all I felt him most when Jean told me she was pregnant. Yes, Reybronx--the artist, the author, the true manifestation of the rawest passion within me--my inner self, was there in the highest and lowest points of my life.

And now I'm staring in a computer monitor blankly and confused. I can't help but ask if is my inner self being a comic creator still relevant to the life I'm living now? I'm creating buildings and landscapes now and designing things with precise caliper-measured technicalities that is directly opposite from the free-flowing artwork of comicbooks.

I paused for a long while and then I thought... As long as there is passion inside me, the artist in me will always be relevant. Reybronx will always be relevant. As long as I appreciate the air that's breathing my lungs, as long as I find happiness in inking a white clean paper in my free time… As long as I believe that I have never made people feel that they are not loved when they are. Yes, I think it will be. Not just for me or the satisfaction of my soul, but for those people who in one way or another became a part of me and never really left me emotionally--the people I've loved and never stopped loving. People that caused me and have been caused by me some amount of hurt, pain and tears. Some of them left me brokenhearted when I was young for greener pastures, and some I've left for some reasons. Friends, lovers, real people. Most of them may have ceased to think of me, but never will I stop thinking of them. For my life with them, no matter how brief, has, collectively, made me the person that I am now. A better, more sensitive and more appreciative kind of individual. And that I will forever treasure. As long as I have passion, my art will always be relevant. It's the only breath my soul knows. The only window my heart shows. The only release my feelings can explicate. Each smear brush of paint is a part of me. Each pigment of graphite and drop of ink is my blood. Each word that I share is the being that I am. And the only way I can show to people that I cared for most in life --my family and closest of friends-- that I had, have and will always love them... Come what may."

RNV, 12th June 2003