My Journal Entry for the months of July, August, September 2015
Six months have rolled on without sharing, so when July begins with the relaunch of The Gypsy Soul, I am excited to share again. I feel a high. Like I’m slowly getting back on track, on a road less hazy and the world felt a little bit brighter each day.
Some nights after, I cry myself to sleep. B kindly tells me some truths I already know, becoming even more painful when they are formed into words. But I never want to feel sullen. Life has been all too good for me. I close my eyes and watch flickers and split seconds of moments in my life. I think, why waste a second being sad?
And so I try still, so, so, SO hard every single day to grow into a better human being. To be a little bit kinder, making better decisions, saying the righter things, spreading even more love, living fiercer. These days are good and full, spent with all sorts of friends and family and strangers all over the metro.
One night I head to a club to cover Zomato’s anniversary party. I’d sip on my Mango rum in between running around and filming strangers. I’d feel my heartbeat take over all that I am. The alcohol doesn’t hit me hard but I feel a high – like I can feel every little bit of sensation. The vibration of the floor, the smoke on my cheeks, the beats drumming in my ears.
I watch this world so carefully, my body unmovable while my eyes try to memorize every bit of detail. I think it’s almost awkward to see me like this, a black sheep amongst the crowd, so out of place. Some boys keep approaching me and telling me to have some fun. Not in any weird way. Almost like brothers working hard to let their sister feel at home. But it’s just not me, and I don’t force myself to belong where I don’t. I write on my Instagram post: This world. The only way I can belong here is with my camera. And a little bit rum goodness. — And it’s so true.
I buy a cheap copy of The Alchemist in a vintage bookstore one afternoon and finish it overnight, catching my breath when I can. How can a story be so easy and yet so compelling? It’s perfect for me I think, but I realize it’s probably perfect for everybody else who will get to read it. Travel, passion, love, home. It’s all we really are at the core. My favorite part in the book says “But the sheep had taught him something more important: that there was a language in the world that everyone understood, a language the boy had used throughout the time that he was trying to improve things at the shop. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.”
What can be stronger than the language of love?
At the beginning of August, I feel centered. I have my routines and priorities in check, doing all that I can and have to and sleeping so worthily after a long day of toiling and growing. I wish I can share about every day or meal spent with all the human beings I’m blessed to coexist with in this lifetime. Every single day starting this month is extra special.
My high school friends and I are reunited for the first time this year by midnight one Friday, feeling like we haven’t seen each other in forever as usual. Most of them are tipsy from spending the night playing beerpong at a bar while I tell my dad some crazy ideas over cupcakes. When they come and get me, we spread our arms wide and screech awwwwwww and on the streets, my friends won’t stop screaming “Grabe, I missed you!!!” My crazy-on-the-outside-but-really-just-loving girl friends make my heart feel full. They say I’m just different now but I’m happy I still get to go crazy around them every once in a while. We stay out until 2AM until we decide it’s time to head home. We drive through empty roads, dropping by some of our friends’ homes to get overnight clothes, waking up parent by parent, pushing each other and screaming but shhhshing and laughing like the crazies we always have been since we were all young and careless. We shower one by one at Sam’s, telling each other stories and updates throughout until we’re cuddled to sleep, and then cuddle again the next morning to talk even more.
I agree to spend the weekend up in Baguio with my mom and sister on the 14th, and all plans change. Sunday morning I find myself bidding my mom and little sister goodbye as they head back down to the city while I stay for three more days. But then a terrible storm arrives that same night and three days stretch into weeks until the end of the month. It seems as if part of my routine is to get rid of routine. Crazy.
I feel like my 12 year-old self again, tumbling back to those summers I’d spend up here without a care. No routines, no requirements, no expectations, just late night movie marathons, puppy cuddles, hot cups of chocolate in the morning, soaking in all the cold, sweet afternoon naps, the whispering breeze of mountain rainstorms, singing all throughout my (intensely cold) showers, and lots of hours spent just writing and exchanging stories and sentiments with my cousins. This is another one of my homes around the world, another family I consider my own.
My cousin Ron is also a photographer and so I feel a deeper kinship with him. Our conversations bring me into a different world — his — that opens my eyes wide (surprisingly, especially) to my own. I think other people’s stories are beautiful by themselves but even more that they help us understand ourselves even more. It’s quite magical. And so those nights we spent coloring photographs at a coffee shop or nestled on his bed while we exchange bits and pieces of our lives has taught me infinitely more about myself than I would ever have if I tried to understand myself alone. So much that I miss my cousin sometimes when we’re apart for months, sometimes more than a year, wondering how it would be like if he was my brother.
I couldn’t contain the joy so I write a simple journal entry and share it in present-time last August here. Raw words for raw times.
September comes and all of a sudden I am twenty years old. The Universe grants me a full month beyond all that I imagined and hoped for. Every single weekend a new adventure awaited — a crazy boat ride to and from a grand waterfalls in the province, a breezy trip back up to Baguio, learning how to surf and drinking beer and milk tea with some friends for over one weekend, heading to the southernmost part of the Philippines to crash my sister’s friends’ wedding — and I’d go back home feeling the wave of love for wandering enveloping me. Home isn’t home when the road feels so much like home. But even then, the city greeted me with as much adventure.
In between these crazy days of random everything, I feel myself growing into somebody else I never thought I’d be. I’m not too sure how exactly but I feel different everyday. Everything’s a little bit more peaceful than normal. Inner dialogues of discouragement are hushing down and dreams are settling in my heart like they should.
I feel detached from my camera all the more. I guess it’s simple: when life is hitting you hard, you realize you can’t waste a second to look away. You stare and you marvel and drown in all the goodness of the present. There’s no time to waste looking through a viewfinder. I don’t even feel deeply anymore to ever write about moments.
What’s frustrating about breathing through life instead of writing every moment down or saving every still or movement in my camera is I feel I lose those memories forever. They are fully lived, but they are forgotten. I do not know how to feel about that yet. But this works for now and so I keep my camera tucked away underneath some old clothes unless I am shooting for work. I’m grateful that I have my phone to take tiny photographs without much thought while my notebook forgets the poetry and emotions and only fills of creative ideas and lists of to-dos.
And then I am struck by a bigger dream. One that has been hiding under my quietest thoughts for the the past year.
A lot of things change from hereon forward.