August 24, 2013

Narissa: The girl who loved ballet and hated the word "literally".

"When she was just a girl, she expected the world. But it flew away from her reach. So she ran away in her sleep." - Paradise; Coldplay

Narissa. I met her over three years ago. In an online forum where people vent and rant about whether Albert Einstein looks better without that outrageous crop of hair. Or who would win in a pugilistic match between Vladimir Putin and a prime Mao Zedong. Or Bigfoot versus Chuck Norris. Or who is more famous in the internet; cats or dogs? She was using a Philippine flag as an avatar. A complete giveaway that she's somewhere in this archipelago of over seven thousand islands.

Long story short, I came to know her. That she's from Pangasinan. That she loves ballet. That she writes for a website dedicated to everything ballet-related. But she doesn't dance because of a condition that prohibits her to do so. She just loves it. She called herself an "armchair ballet dancer".

That she's a full-time freelance writer. She spends her days ( and nights) writing in her room which she christened "Dungeons and Penguins" because of her immense collection of penguin figurines and toys.

That she cringes when she hears or reads the word "literally". There's nothing literal in this world, she often stated.

That she wasn't able to go to college. Hell, she didn't even finish high school. She's happy she left school, it was boring anyway, she said. I asked her how'd she learn such a great command of the English language having left school so early. She said her mother's a teacher. I virtually high-fived her there. We both have mothers who are teachers. Finally, we were on common ground.

That she wrote Frankenstein fan fiction. In her re-imagining of the classic story by Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein created not two but five monsters.

That her favorite movie is The Professional, a French thriller starring Jean Reno and Gary Oldman and featuring the film debut of a young Natalie Portman.
Image source: flickr/jcolman
That she suffered from a rare bone disease called Idiopathic Carpotarsal Osteolysis which is characterized by the "gradual lysis and resorption of the bones". That she's been suffering from the disease for over two decades. What this debilitating condition does is stop the arms from growing and cause the malformation of the feet.

That she's a fellow blogger. In one blog post, she mentioned "Trying to live a normal life has become my life."

That she spent a considerable amount of her years bed-ridden. Fortunately, after three surgeries, she was able to walk and live a life much closer to a "normal life".

I've met her three times for coffee and lunch. Always accompanied by her mother, they often come up here in Baguio City to visit her older sister whose studying at the University of the Philippines. She said she always enjoyed these small trips as it's a huge diversion of her daily routine of just staying at home.

"I'm starting to find my groove. I've given up on a normal life. I'm going to just live with what I have right now. Whatever comes, I'm more than ready for it." She wrote in her blog.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard the most dreaded news. She's not doing very well. Her condition was taking it's toll on her. And yesterday, she passed away. I wasn't as shocked as anyone should be. We've discussed her mortality countless of times. She has accepted it she said. She said she knows what's coming and she's going to meet it with trumpets blaring and drums beating. And she did exactly that. Death did not defeat her. She defeated death before it even came for her.

Narissa, you will be missed. And I hate to say it but it sucks to see bad things happen to good people. Here's to hoping that heaven is real.





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