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Isay Gavica

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Life and Practice

Isay Gavica is a geology student by day and a poet during all the other times she is awake. She has been writing since 2003, starting with fanfiction and eventually transitioning to poetry. She is a proud lesbian, an ovarian cancer survivor, and a mental health advocate. When she is not squeezing her feelings for poetry prompts, she enjoys crocheting or going out for runs.


I moved recently. I now live in my friend's shared apartment. They left for a trip to Europe, and I was left with a comfortable new home. I felt an adult-like sense of responsibility, having my own keys to our own house.

It does get lonely sometimes, especially now. I've anchored my roots when the rest of the world seems to be uprooting theirs in search of fresher ground. I stand on shaky soil, with nothing but myself for support and the fear that comes with the uncertainty of whether the earth will hold or give in, leaving me falling face first towards its harsh embrace.

I've lost all of my homes but one. Even the home I grew up in, is now a strange and alien place. Although it seems nothing has changed, nothing fits right anymore. It does not even take days before I feel that I have overstayed my welcome, and it is time to go.

But then even this new home has yet to feel like one. I've hung up my soul behind my locked bedroom door and hid secrets in my drawers, in between books and paper sheets. I've marked my room with my scent and the countless sticks of lighted incense and cigarettes. Maybe when it is comfortable enough, when it is home enough, then I will be able to let my vulnerabilities spill from the closed doors and out into the rooms and hallways of this house.
(May 22, 2013)

I had always been fascinated with the idea of home. Maybe it was having to adjust after moving to a new country in my formative years, then having to adjust again when we returned to the Philippines. Maybe, as an anxious child, it was not feeling safe or secure enough while growing in a very turbulent family environment.

My family readily accepted me when I came out to them as lesbian. It was easier to come out since my ate had already done so. That wasn't the reason I felt out of place. It just always seemed like I was on the outside looking in. Why didn't our house feel like a home?

Unintentionally, my collection ended up involving the different parts of our house in Laguna. I tried to shoot the videos in other places, but it just didn't feel right. The kitchen, though now renovated, was where Tita Oya would spend most of her time. On rainy laundry days, we use the stairway railings as a makeshift drying rack. The first room past the stairway is my room—my own quiet private space that I can always retreat to. Even the dining room made a small appearance in Ode to My Pandemic Girlfriend.

I am still looking for a place I can really call home. But right now, I am satisfied I have found my own tiny pockets of home in different people and different online spaces. Compared to 2013, it doesn't feel as lonely anymore.

© 2021. GlobalGRACE Philippines

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