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. Friday 9 July 2021 .


Coming back this July. I'll be archiving this site soon so see you at x

. Saturday 1 August 2020 .

1. Loudly Quietly is coming along nicely. I mean, it's taking longer than I hoped it would but it's getting there, slowly but surely. I've set the 23rd as my 'go-live' date just so I can give myself a deadline and that push to just make it happen. We'll see! Once that space is live, I'll be using this site as more of a personal one. Kinda like the good ol' days of blogging.

2. I'm sorry for all the years I wasted hating on sweatpants. These beautiful, comfortable, gift to humanity. I can't believe I really let myself believe that sweatpants were a 'no no'. Over lockdown, it's all I wanted to wear. And even now that I spend most of my time at home working, it's just all I wear now. I'm talking full, matching sets. Several of them. This pair was sent to me by Cotton On as they kindly sent me a bunch of their Curve range to celebrate its milestone year and honestly I love how soft and fluffy they are.

3. This song still goes hard. A classic banger.

4. On Tuesday evening, Lio and I went to a screening of House of Cardin. It was the perfect film to take Lio to as he's currently studying fashion and it's been amazing watching his creative process unfold. I have a soft spot for a good fashion documentary! Not a lot of people know this but back in High School, 17 year old me, living in Manila really wanted to be a fashion designer! I was so sure I wanted a career in fashion. I loved drawing, I loved coming up with outfits, I've always had my own individual style and could put together looks in my head. I even designed the High School cheering squad's uniforms! No, that didn't make me popular. Yes, the cheerleaders still ignored me. But I didn't care. I was just hella proud to see an actual living, breathing, human being roaming the halls of the school wearing something I envisioned and created. Imagine my surprise when I realised I couldn't sew. Nor did I have the patience to learn and to work to create a collection. So my fashion dreams took a backseat. Instead of creating, I dressed up, I wrote, and ended up doing PR for a small fashion label. Anyway, back to the film. House of Cardin was a refreshing documentary because it focussed on the creating. I loved the insight on what it takes to create a highly successful brand like Pierre Cardin, who was a pioneer in many ways and is responsible for a lot of the design and style we enjoy now. The best part for me was that it wasn't heavy and depressing unlike some other fashion docos (McQueen and I, I'm looking at you) that leave you feeling a bit hollow after. House of Cardin made me feel so inspired and alive and buzzing to create! Check out the trailer here.

5. I'm not the biggest wellness advocate out there but I really need to talk to you about how drinking a cup of fresh ginger tea every night (or Salabat as we call it in the Philippines - fresh ginger slowly boiled in the stove with heaps of water for about 30 - 40 mins. Just make sure to keep an eye on it and keep topping up the water when it reduces) has changed my life! I wind down better, I haven't really been that sick this winter, and it really is the best nighttime drink. I add a bit of high UMF Manuka honey and some lemon with it. So. Good.

6. I was featured in this article on the Sunday Star Times around our social behaviours after lockdown and it’s something I think about a lot. I used to go our nearly every night during the week and spend weekends absolutely doing nothing but recover in bed. Now I’m lucky if I’m out twice in a week! But this means that everytime I do go out, I’m genuinely excited to go out and to be completely present. Anyway, like I said, it’s been on my mind and maybe someday soon I’ll articulate those thoughts more clearly. Ha!

7. The Mememification of Breonna Taylor’s death is a must read.

8. Last weekend we checked out the General Collective markets in Ponsonby after our big family lunch (we went to Wo Hop – the first Yum Cha place in Ponsonby and it was delicious!) and it reminded me how much I love going to markets, meeting the stall holders and makers themselves, and buying from small businesses. It was especially nice to see some makers I follow on Instagram and meet them IRL (and buy the products I see on the ‘gram). There’s something so special about supporting local and if you have the means and access to do so, I hope you can prioritise buying from small businesses more too.

9. “When you exist in spaces that weren’t built for you, sometimes just being you is the revolution.”

10. I really miss having baths but Auckland water crisis is still a thing and so I’m gonna suck it up and just light a candle when I shower and pretend it’s as relaxing.

. Saturday 25 July 2020 .

Have you ever had one of those moments in life where all of a sudden you are hit with absolute clarity on what it is you were born to do? Not necessarily in terms of a job title, or a specific role, but more like what it is you were put here to do. That moment of crystal clear clarity that makes you realise what people mean when they say they've had an epiphany. Even as I type this, I find myself still struggling to put into words just exactly what I mean. I don't feel like there are words to describe this feeling. This feeling of knowing exactly what it is you want to do, who you want to become, and how you envision it unfolding. The closest word I can think of to describe it is passion. And even then, I feel like passion isn't strong enough of a word to describe it.

But I've had these moments a few times in my life. Great, rare, fleeting moments that just appear out of nowhere. A split second that's enough to awaken something inside of me, jolt me back to life, nudge me to pay attention. To hold on to this feeling as long as I can and use it to take action towards that very thing I know I could become.

Tonight I had one of those moments. It shocked me so much I had to get up from bed and start writing this because it came almost out of nowhere and I'm trying to capture it as best as I can, while it's still here. Well, maybe not exactly out of nowhere. Let me explain.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to start watching One Tree Hill from the start. I never actually got to finish the later seasons, but when it came out in 2003 I was a 12 year old kid in Manila, Philippines about to discover who I am and what my place in this world is. It was around the same time I started blogging, come to think of it. My early days on Xanga, Live Journal, Multiply, and Friendster still a testament to just how much I love telling stories. But that's a tale for another day. Like I said, I started re-watching One Tree Hill at the start of July and have realised just how much this show shaped me.

Lately I've been feeling nostalgic for the girl I used to be. The one who would watch this show every week on her bulky, small TV and sit through ad breaks and asked for the DVD box set for her birthday once. I saw parts of myself in each of the characters then, but I've always felt like Peyton the most. I remember writing her spiel about art and drawing something that means something on my old blog because I felt that way about my writing. Even back then, I had an inkling that perhaps this was what I wanted to do. I wrote short stories in maths class instead of listening. I let myself dream and imagine. I watched the show religiously and fell for the characters and their story arcs, invested in who they were becoming too.

I've been telling stories from a very young age. I remember once as a kid, a few friends and I performed a musical in my room and we gathered our parents to be the audience. I think I was Celine Dion singing "It's All Coming Back To Me". I wrote little stories in my notebook. I drew stick figures in different scenarios before I even knew what 'storyboarding' was. My make believe scenarios while playing with my Barbie dolls filled my days with absolute magic and joy and I don't think I've ever gone a day in my life without imagining some outlandish scenario, wholeheartedly believing it could come true.

I think when I started getting into One Tree Hill many, many years ago, it reimagined all the magic I felt as a kid telling stories and it made me realise how truly powerful fictional worlds can be. One Tree Hill at its core is about discovering yourself but they were also way ahead of their time in terms of the themes discussed. In 2003 they were talking about podcasts, covering mental health and school shootings, being careful when you live life online (and this was before social media was even a big thing) among other things. I could probably spend a lot of time talking about what this show means to me. In fact, I've started noting down key episodes that have truly resonated. There is one particular episode that have always been my favourite. And over the years when people would ask me what my favourite show was, when I said One Tree Hill, I always had one moment in mind around why.

Season 4 Episode 9.

That was the episode that changed everything for me. The Ravens playing for State championship, the build up and tension on that final that was enough to turn me, a non-basketball fan who had no idea how the game really worked, into a screaming, cheering Ravens supporter. I will always be haunted by the scene thereafter of confetti and the opening chords to Jose Gonzalez's version of Heartbeats as a montage of the moments that came after plays and the camera pans to different characters in that moment. And Brooke comes up to Lucas and asks him who he wants standing next to him when all his dreams came true and he finally realises that it's Peyton he wants to be with. About 75 episodes later and the build up from season 1 (with a flashback even) finally reaches its peak and it's a lot more unexpected and romantic and sad and hopeful and just filled with so much goddamn emotion that I am a sobbing mess by the end of it. In those 3 or so minutes of show, nothing else existed except me and this show and it's transcendent and rare to experience. I haven't found a show moment that's come close since.

Yeah, I know they're not a real team, they're not real people, it's just a show etc. But isn't that a sign of really great storytelling? It brings you into a world that feels real. Fictional entertainment like TV, movies, and books may not be real but the feeling they leave us with is real. And it lingers long after we've watched the scene or read a chapter. Sometimes they even change the course of our lives or help us get through a difficult time or make us realise that we are not alone in how we feel. The kind of feelings you find yourself writing about 13 years after the episode first came out.

The first time I watched that scene, I just felt this shift. It feels cheesy to describe it as 'a fire ignited in me' but I guess I should just embrace the cheese wholeheartedly. It was this episode that made me believe I could tell these stories too. I just knew I had to tell stories that make people feel the way I felt while watching that. I wanted to write, I wanted to act, I wanted to be part of this creative world that makes people want to dream and feel and have hope. To take someone through that rollercoaster of emotion in a single sequence.

Tonight I remembered. I remembered who I wanted to be. What I wanted to do. How I want to spend my days. And there is a really big part of me that has felt like I've lost this feeling a long time ago and most of the time I'm just rolling with the punches and letting life pass me by. I haven't had it in me to fight back, to fight for what I want, to fight for who I wanted to become. And I guess little by little that truly strong spark had diminished.

I thought it had been gone until tonight. I felt it all again. The nervous feeling in my heart as Lucas was about to shoot the shot that would make them win. The sheer joy of seeing these characters achieve something they have been working towards. The absolute release of confessing how they felt about each other. That line around who you want standing next to you when all your dreams come true. I sobbed and felt the lightest I have felt in a while.

It was like nothing has changed. I was still the 12 year old girl from Manila except now in a 28 year old body from New Zealand with more experiences lived and moments under my belt that I had no idea was going to happen to me all those years ago.

It's 1:31 am and I'm beyond exhausted from the week that's been but I also feel more alive than I have ever been in a long time. I'm not as nostalgic for the girl I used to be. I now know that she's still in there too, but mostly I long for the person I want to become. In a few short weeks I get to start giving it a shot. Or at the very least, start figuring out how to seriously go after the thing I want the most.

The heaviest thing I have had to carry for nearly ten years now will be gone. I can feel the build up of that sigh of relief, imagining how light it would feel without the weight. I'm proud of the way I've been carrying this with grace and compassion and good old fashioned hard fucking work. When it's over I'll probably write about it as a way to process, as a way to remember it, as a way to thank those character defining moments disguised as mountains we have to move.

There are stories I have been raring to tell. Stories that have yet to happen that will someday be stories I'll tell. I know now that even with the best plans and intentions, the road to what we want isn't linear and is filled with twists and turns. But I know I have to at least try and tell these stories, whatever it takes to do that.

In many ways, I get to begin again. I have faith in my arrival.