Half a year has passed, now I’m ready. Along the way I kept asking myself why I didn’t have that same passion to share. I’d write scribbles of words and memories on my journal, but I kept them there — away from gazing eyes where they can be solely mine. Sometimes I’d feel like that is exactly how it’s supposed to be. When I lay my heart open to the world in this space online, a wave of fear and doubt and hesitation hits me. I’d fallen into a deep slump and I knew it was time to give myself some time away.
When I stopped thinking about having to share so much of my life, I started to feel myself being really me. Strong-willed and unshakable, grateful and expressive but always, unceasingly just rightly flawed. I understood somewhere along the way that I haven’t always been completely honest with myself nor with how I projected my life over the Internet.
When I dropped out of college, I was very aggressive with my dreams and defensive about the decisions I have made for myself. People talk a lot, and in my world are oftentimes overly worried about each other. I figured if I can project a Chiara who was absolutely sure about who she is and what her plans are, things will fall into place eventually and no one will ever know.
I placed this standard upon myself and whenever I couldn’t keep up with it, I would crumble and hit rock bottom. Again and again and again. I’d share mostly only about my struggles over social media because that was all I could see sometimes — the failure of reaching my sometimes very unrealistic goals, the darker days amidst a very colorful life.
If you wish to know the truth, then this is all of it.
I want people to know how deeply happy I really am. I don’t have a perfect life and I don’t really understand this world as much as I try to, but I’m grateful for just being simply alive. I know that may sound banal, but I really am. I feel it within my bones whenever I’m around people that I love or when I’m working on creative projects that make my chest burst with love. I feel it most when I’m writing a poem or reading a rousing book and then find myself suddenly just staring into space. In awe of my own existence. With the reality of this all.
A vast, magnificent messy world of all sorts of magnificence, and we get to be a part of it for quite some time. Why shouldn’t we live a full, purposeful life?
Everyday we have that choice and every single day I decide to say yes.
People would ask me what I’ve been up to these past months sometimes, and then moments and days whirl in my head but I can’t perfectly describe it. I know what I’m doing — breathing everything in and making the most out of whatever events and opportunities the Universe throws my way — but I know people always need that assurance of productivity and so I just say photography. Well if you find this journal entry, now you know it’s more than just that. I’m just coursing through this adventure called life and it just so happens I have a camera to document most of it.
In between then and now, so much has been said, made and done. In between my travels around the world, I’ve started to establish myself as a freelance photographer — doing work for all sorts of people, restaurants and fellow artists. My soul sister Phoebe and I will soon be launching a birth documentation studio we call Benigne Studios, which we have been working on ever since the year started. And while a lot of different projects and endeavors fell through this part year for all sorts of reasons I’m still constantly working on personal projects that I can’t wait to share to everybody. And then of course, there’s my personal life, the most complicated of them all — redirecting myself towards a healthier, simpler, fuller life of utter happiness.
I can’t believe how easy it is to say all these. God knows how many crazy days I’ve had driving around the city to meet clients and shoot editorials, with aching pains all over and dropping dead on nights only to find myself waking up early in the morning for another busy day. And then there were months without work at all, moments in between where I’d entertain thoughts of giving up. Some nights I cry so much from all sorts of overwhelming feelings, my best friend B listening to me patiently over the phone after which he gives me a simple line of “don’t be so tough on yourself” and my sister telling me to stop thinking and feeling too much and just live life exactly the way I want to. It gets hard but how can I complain? When I think of all the goodness Jehovah has given me, I realize he doesn’t bless me with much just to have me feel sorrowful. Because really, what’s my right to be sad at all? In all my nighttime prayers I thank him for every single blessing, tears of gratitude trickling down my cheeks.
I used to wish my days away so I can fast forward to the future, but at present I feel my days slipping away too quickly I realize I’ve been wishing wrong. Now I want things to slow down so it can be like this for longer. While I still dream of living as a gypsy in the future, I feel elated to be deeply rooted in the city right now. Whenever my head is perched far into the future I remind myself to be present, in my now I can never again relive. I forget about everything else besides my present, all the things I can do nothing about and just focus on whatever I already am, have and do right now. I accept that life is not a collection of years towards one big goal of fulfillment but a series of events that will make me a bigger, better person. This life. The life! The best of all journeys all of us will ever have.
I can’t pretend I understand myself and this world anymore but I’m ready to be me now, finally. Really, utterly, unapologetically me. A humble speck of nothing being molded into the person I can become. Like I am not this one person with only one set of qualities and dreams but a real character — one that grows and evolves and transforms unendingly.
So I won’t throw out promises into this space like I used to — that I’m officially back and will be sharing more than I ever have, or that I have one clear direction in life that I want for all of you to look out for. I’m downright clueless. Nobody else would know, really. All I know is I’m ready for this again and I’m hoping you’ll stick around and find out with me.
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I’m leaving you a playlist here I call Moving Forward. All the songs that have touched, inspired and made me feel so alive the past year. Songs for the soul I will only share to people who care about me enough to read until the end. I want you to know I love you!
So much love,