Moving Forward: The Hindrance and Grace

When life tests the ability of a character’s potential, two ways can go about it: you either fall to pieces or you persevere through the roughness. This year has shown that changes were bound to happen. Whether the quality was not supposed to exist in its entirety. Or the inevitable of it all. A valid question to myself that dawned was how to move forward from everything? In the cases of what halted or what blessed me as a whole. Through heartbreak, loss, suffering, hatred, and many others that hindered where I felt I should have been,
So, with that all this here’s me moving forward.

I faced the biggest adversary yet: myself and school. Usually, I would tell myself that me, myself, and I would always be the one that determines the fate of a person. But now I see how social and environmental factors also mold and contribute to that kind of torture. I condemned myself to such ill-treatment, whether that would lay on mental instability or physical attributes of irrational and unjust thinking. There were days I kept revisiting vices I swore that I would immediately put an end on. There were days where I did not want to get out of bed and live a fulfilled and promised day, and days where I shut people out and keep on without consulting with anyone. It all sounds pretty sad at this point, right? However, there is only one thing I have learned up to this point. It entails the future ahead of me. Move forward from here on out.

I was a constant dweller living in past experiences and moments combined. But it wasn’t all those bad experiences that made me want to feel unalive. I reflected on both the good and evil, but my end-goal was to look back on the good one and outweigh those that caused the immense amount of irrational thinking.
Everything from the start of college to now has led me to where exactly I need to be. It gives me a sense of taking accountability when I should take the impetus of what went wrong than scapegoating people or life in general. From here, I can make peace with myself from the past that plagued me, thus supporting my growth and give the needed perspective of what needs to improve for better results in the making.

Moving forward also gives me a sense of purpose in life. I would always tend to create idealistic views in my headspace that sound like they would never happen, whether that’d be backpacking the countryside of Switzerland. I become a tattoo artist working directly in San Francisco and or working for Kaiser Permanente, helping those in need. Or anything that I see myself that brings me the pride & joy that I deserve. It gives me new goals to reach regardless of the changes time will take. I’m learning that I should be okay with all of that for me to start making new goals for myself regardless of time constraints.

Creating memories are indeed a pertinent part of moving forward as well. It gives me something to look forward to amid the chaos of our world to show that I must value the quality of a perfect moment. When I reflect on the memories, I always ask myself what I can do differently than the last time I was doing this? My only hope in life is to create more of those beautiful moments, even if it’s the simple things in life. Coffee shop talks with a new person or friend, family-style restaurant visits, new things to explore in the Bay Area, or pick up a new hobby! If I want to create a good life with myself and others, I must be able to look at it through humbling eyes.

IMG_2893.jpgThe essential part of a person’s life is to self-reflect and govern the future choices they will make. The only thing I have other than words are my next actions and how they will form the course of my life. The process of valuing and appreciating my past and the reflections with it remain sustained yet cumbersome. By taking specific steps backward, but only to move forward as further as possible through Grace.

Old Habits: Addiction kills


Hey there, world. Yeah, I know what you must be thinking with this photo: Josh is back smoking cigarettes?!
First off, yes, I caved back into the vice, and it was one of the worst decisions that I made for myself. But I hope that you’ll grace me the opportunity to explain my imperfections and reasoning(s) why I chose so.
I turned 23 about a month ago. Does it sound like I’m hitting the prime of my life? When you reach your Jordan year, the whole perception of that is to be excellent and strive for greatness throughout that year alone, just like Michael Jordan did rocking the number 23 during his Basketball career. During 23, the whole conceived notion of that year is social life going great, relationships (with a partner or loved ones) stronger than ever, an excellent job with great pay, health that is intact, yeah, no. Not for me at the slightest (from what I was feeling).
Everything hit all at once when I turned 23. To give you the insider on that, I spent 23 at Resident Advisor work training. Don’t get me wrong, the best part was seeing everyone that I haven’t seen all summer and that was honestly enough for me, and spending little time with Destine, Aimee, Kea, Avelin were also lovely, but there was a void that whole day, and I still have no clue what the gap of all that was. The rest of the week was so tiresome and lost. I felt no connection with anything, nor was I looking forward to a whole lot. That’s when I decided to go back to old habits.
I was on my way to Berkeley to head over to 924 Gilman for a Hardcore show but decided to make a quick pitstop beforehand. I went to the liquor store close to campus and bought my first pack of Marlboro’s. From there, that was the start of the journey of isolation and misery with the use of this vice.
Each cigarette that was smoked in solitude or with others made it whole for the dependency on it. I was well aware that I was risking a multitude of health issues and that if I kept up with it, it’d only progress worse. But days continued where it was only going downhill. I never went through a pack a day thank god I had that sort of discipline, but still, it was haunting, and a voice inside my head was convincing me otherwise for smoke breaks in between classes, homework, or just out of sheer boredom to feeling the rush and calmness of something. My friends and coworkers found out eventually, and it was bound to happen. I would sometimes smoke around them but with the courtesy of the smoke not being in their own space and I would tell them that I made the pact with quitting soon but had no designated time to stop anytime soon. Overall my mental health became so dependent on it and that my sanity was
Luckily, I did. When I felt that it all started to come crashing down, that’s when I made the pact with myself to stop.
I texted Aimee and had asked to meet up in person later in the day. We met up at the Japanese garden on campus. She had no idea what was going on, and we hadn’t had any 1:1 time to dialogue, but for what I was about to do I know that she would appreciate it. To tell you in truth, she was the first person that I confided in when it came to nicotine, and not once did she pass judgment, and she had complete faith in me that I would overcome the obstacle. I told her everything that has been going on since I started smoking cigarettes since our last 1:1 that people started noticing I noticed huge shifts of change within myself. I lost my appetite since nicotine suppresses hunger, and if I was eating, I wasn’t eating right. My clothes reeked of cigarette smoke, my voice sounded different, and it became difficult to handle my anxious feelings the right way. That’s when I pulled out my last pack of smokes along with my gifted zippo lighter. I gave it to her and told her that I don’t want anything to do with these anymore.

The pictures listed show the last cigarette that I smoked, and the pack and lighter in which I was going to give to Aimee. After I gave it to her, she reassured me that I’m prone to go through bumps in my life, but that I am resilient in strength to power through and get back on my own two feet. For that, I’m beyond the terms of grateful.

It’s been almost two days since my last smoke, and it is honestly tough, but I got to keep that gentle reminder of why I chose to quit. For the sake of my health, the people that I love & care about, and so that I don’t spiral down the same path I took when I was a teenager.

So, with that being said, here I am, looking forward to make better and healthier choices with myself. One day at a time, endlessly searching for that small measure of peace.

– Josh

Summer 2019 and The Ride

My days remain numbered for Summer ’19, and it’s only a matter of time until RA training starts with move-in day and the academic school year. However, I must confirm that this was an eventful season with much downtime for myself. I’ll explain further about the plans and how I was able to at least “heal” in a matter of two months combined.

After the class of 2019 graduated in May, I made the decision a few months back to stay up here in the Bay Area and work for my school’s Housing Department. In all honesty, I was more anxious than ready only because I worked the same job back in Summer ’17, and that was a mix up of frustration and tedious work. What I learned from that experience is to not work on & off with different timings. Preferably set me up for a fixed schedule. In doing so, that’s what I did. Besides the work being tedious again this year, I found myself working better and harder (in the right way). I also found myself taking more downtime in terms of R&R for what I deserve.

The downtime I took for myself was finding solace by merely being by myself with the simple little joys of life. I drank more coffee than I usually spend a lot of my time, money, effort, and healing in different coffee shops around the Bay Area. Believe it or not, I have visited seventeen independent local coffee shops! I’ve mentioned previously that coffee shop cultures offer a plethora of options for the individual(s). I was given the space to blog, read, take time for myself, regenerate my body, and even take individuals to engage in unique dialogue. My evenings consisted of walks/hiking (with the occasional heavy weightlifting at the gym), where public spaces gave me open area to roam as I pleased.

What took over for the grand offering of mindfulness was the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I read one agreement at one coffee shop and read the other one at a different one, and so on until I finished the agreements listed. I’m not going to go in specifics about the book due to the grocery list of in-depth pertinent information. However, I will say this I was in complete awe and mindblown of how everything is explained and comes in full circle.

In conclusion, this was the time that served me for me, myself, and I where I didn’t dwell on irrational thinking as much as I did in past seasons. It became immensely supportive in terms of trying to navigate the small measure of peace that I am still searching for

I’m hitting the Jordan year soon on the first day of RA training, and I’m excited to see everyone and meet new individuals!

Thank you, Summer ’19, for allowing me to find some healing within. You have granted me so much in so little time that I will never forget.

– Josh

​Seeking Validation and How it Ravaged Me

As we grow up and learn the societal trends of what is considered “normal” or “Acceptable,” we make dull notes on mental levels to ensure that we fit that to the fullest expectation.

From this, we seek validation from factors of our lives to safeguard our reputation(s) that we’ve established so well. The second we turn an eye and make a mistake, we develop and carry feelings of unrest and anxiety.

This is what ruined me and my well-being. I was seeking validation, making sure I was doing the right thing.
In doing right for others to be told that my credibility remains the same as a human.

The “happiness” and impression I did for others only for them to give me the simple compliments with no satisfaction only satisfied me momentarily and had no results in the long run.

The second you start this bad habit of seeking validation, it completely ruins your self-esteem. It becomes a drug that temporarily creates the euphoria but later on spirals downwards from the reality of misery.

I cared about other’s opinions of me and let them dictate my worth as a person. I created false images and viewpoints of everybody hating me and secretly only being my friend out of pity. It got to the point of me asking “hey, am I being a good friend? If not, please tell me so that I can fix myself.” as a constant. There’s nothing wrong with admitting to fixing oneself. People will always be a work in progress; however, it shows that the less capability and issues of insecurities through fear. I lived and immersed in that torture from external validation from others. It became a vice much worse than the cigarettes I used to indulge in. I stayed silent for most things, and my silence encompassed a lot of unsaid yet loud reasoning of self-worth through distaste. I felt trapped in a mind of clutter and nasty thoughts.

What the hard truth from all this became a massive slap in the face for me only for the right reasoning. We can only be pleasers, but where do we draw the line when it becomes too much for us to handle and please others? We stay grounded and find comfort with it, but how long does it take for looking in the mirror of our self-worth and breaking down. Only because we couldn’t please one small thing that wouldn’t matter in the end? As mentioned by multiple people, we cannot please everyone. We can’t live up to be perfectionists no matter how hard we study and try to become that ideal figure. How can you expect to develop and be a truly human and friend if pleasing them and not being yourself is the only pastoral mindset that you live in?

The second you come to this realization of seeking validation from others only to make sure you please them in next passings, it becomes a bad habit that will continue to build.

My advice, it to just be true to yourself, and continue to be the best version that you already are. There is only one YOU, and there is only one ME. That kind of content can’t be faked. Learn to appreciate the things you already do for people and celebrate that with them by making sure they are recognized by you.

Finding Myself in The Things That I Write.

I’ve had this personal site of mine for over a year now, and I have to say it has been one of the best investments of my college endeavor. I never really explained in detail why I chose this sort of outlet as the outlet of 2019… However, I’ll make a reasonable attempt in that fashion.

If I were in the presence of eighteen-year-old Josh, I would tell him that this level of content and reason would be an esteemed staple when he would be in his early twenties. That being in touch with his self-awareness, an untapped spirit that is hidden waiting on itself to emerge out of its shell. That the Love of Quality Time envelops the fear of loneliness and apparition-like feelings, moreover, this platform of vocality cannot fake itself in its existence. I never thought that writing itself would take me to a multitude of independent and indifferent avenues. I found the influence through the inspiration of blogging from my dear friend Jennifer, so here I am taking advantage of the site for the amount of money that I paid, which hurt like hell in the yearly subscription haha. However, with the money that I worked tirelessly through late nights, I had the upper hand in creating a bigger picture for myself. Here I was able to discover the innovation of creativity through honest interactions of individuals and the everyday occurrences of human activity where Coffee Shop Talks through sips of hot or iced drinks had me in complete awe of every outcome after the reciprocity of relevance and feelings. In this, this is where I read inspiration after inspiration of other people’s work to find new topics to flourish in a commodity, along with listening to YouTube subscriptions of Majestic Casual, Escape Tracks, and anything that gives the flow of artistry gave the chemicals in my brain to work diligently in an upbeat matter. Innovation with Photography, accrued traditional tattoos for over the past two years is one thing that all go in collectiveness, but the experimental craft of words of informing, telling a story, convince a whole lot.

However, what has been the takeaway from a year of lessons, heartbreak, reconnecting with life, the cosmic capability of Love, awareness, and many others that made me feel uncomfortable yet warm?
In all the given honesty, I’m not entirely sure. Sounds terrifying to say the very least.

This blog, myself importantly, will always be a work in progress, with beckoning questions and answers that will arise through said everyday experiences. In reality, no one has the answers to life’s purpose and reasoning. There is so much that I will never understand, and what I have been a witness to on the face of the world has led to inquire said life’s purpose. But there is indeed something sacred in the chaos: spiritual, and although it continually is unclear to me, I can’t help but be aware of its power. I firmly believe that certain changes in specific misconstrued ideas of uncertainty, unsightly fears sets a determination of civil unrest and inadvertent separation of mind, body, and soul. Not being able to address the obstacles of the unknown can accumulate stressors where we become so accustomed to the uncomfortable. The challenges that make us uncomfortable with ourselves should not cast astray when we are afraid. These challenges, healthy for what I consider, create something more for ourselves and can unlock a plethora of segments, and living in everyday fear and isolation from that only hinders growth for something more than subsistence. So, with all this announced, these instances of finding myself through writing, interactions with humans, the world itself, myself even, fabricate a pilgrimage for that small measure of peace.

I look forward to discoveries, driven revolutionary coffee shop work, strive for truthful exchanges of conversations, the impetus, and onus of continuing the journey within.

Thank you,


Coffee Shop Talks

A discussion of coffee

Hello world, just thought I’d share my two cents on a new addition of a blog. If any of you are into coffee, conversations, coffee-related accessories, then you may want to stop what you’re doing and give this a read (hahaha). So, thanks again for bearing with me!

fullsizeoutput_1264(Reveille Coffee: San Francisco, CA)

fullsizeoutput_1279(Devout Coffee: Fremont, CA)

As some may know (others may not know entirely) one of my favorite adult things to do is visit coffee shops while indulging in their drinks. Though some days I prefer the solitude for self-reflection, other days make me crave more than just that. Specifically, enjoying conversations with an individual while engaging in dialogue through sips of hot lattes (or iced if you roll that way) in a downtown setting such as San Francisco.

fullsizeoutput_1290.jpeg(1951 Coffee Company: Berkeley, CA)

IMG_7220.JPG(The Early Bird Coffee: Hayward, CA)

For those that can reciprocate through past experiences at coffee shops, you can all agree to some extent. Here, you’ll find a diverse set of people in these places. Hipsters on veganism or music, business people, rambling about their stock portfolios, techies on bragging rights about company sales, Instagram bloggers that are taking hundreds of pictures to get the perfect shot for their feed, or just regular individuals merely wanting to grab a cup of coffee. Sounds like a business scheme to be honest. Although the reality of all is from observed occurrences, this, however, gives a vast opportunity to share and engage with people that are prone to make everlasting memories.

Spaces like these offer a designated area for the right reasons: bustling environment of city life, meet with friends, inspiration to work productively and get the creative juices flowing, dates, a quick pick-me-up to power through the day, heal on a mental note, even a space to collect and rejuvenate the soul.

In doing so also stems from the Love of Quality Time with people. From this, I resonate with wholeheartedly for the fact that the atmosphere of hot beverages and genuine conversations are ultimately timeless and unmatched. The willingness to spend a few hours with someone through uninterrupted time consisting of laugh attacks, warm but focused eye contact, authentic hand to hand touches of reassurance, even platonic love, solidify the refined shared emotions of human wellness.

I love coffee and have no issue in trading in my hard earned money and investing my time specifically to local coffee shops in support versus the corporates that stray away from the values of these kinds of spots given. The culture of Coffee Shop Talks will forever be a favorite past time of mine and will continue to serve as an esteemed staple in my life. I hope that any of you can have a take away from this and enjoy it as one of life’s greatest gifts rather than looking at it as a business tactic from businesses.

So, the next time you all visit a coffee shop with a friend, think back to this and take it for what it is and one of life’s greatest gifts.

Water Lantern Festival: It Happened!

Hi there! The tumultuous wait finally came to an end!  The title pretty much tells you what this blog will be about. I got to indulge and immerse myself in a moment of lanterened lights; lanterened lights that shared quotes, stories, letters, and artistic value.

This festival served as a continuation as one of my dear friends Destine’s birthday present(s). I made my way down to San Jose to pick her up and then proceeded to down South where the festival was taking place. Parking was a hassle and chore to find but we managed to scoop a good spot. We checked in at the park and recieved our date night special package and found a good spot to work on our lanterns. At first, I was skeptical on how to even go about the creative and artistic process let alone justify it entirely; however, I reevaluated on what I believe that I do best to undergo this: writing letters. Since the lantern is supposed to have four sides, I dedicated each side towards four themes in letter format.

The first side was a letter to my future self, the second, a letter to my Hopes & Dreams, the third to my Fears, and the fourth to those in my corner.
Destine and I proceeded to the lake to launch our completed lanterns together during the cover of darkness and then took some time for individual reflections.


Once the lantersn floated away everything at that point felt cosmic and dreamlike. It was more than just immersing in a Disney Tangled moment. From here I witnessed value and power in a matter of a couple of hours spent. In all of this, this is where the acceptance of honor settled over shame — healing enfolded over the hurt.  Negative contexts rendered nonexistent. Where vulnerability, validation, reciprocation, most importantly Love triumphed over the place of hate that prospered in the coexistence.
I’ve shared with a few amounts of people that my end-goal in life is to find a small measure of peace, something which few people ever discover, and that last night was just one of the pertinent steps in achieving that eminence.
Either way, I wouldn’t want to experience this kind of encounter any other way, and I am beyond the terms of humbled for this.

Thank you all,