Looking Bright Ahead in 2019

 

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It’s a new year, which means more significant challenges, warm experiences, and lessons that will be. So far my 2019 has been off to a content start, to say the least. I have already made great plans with friends during the first week of the new year along with planned events in the nearby future! So, with that being said, I’m excited to share some of the beautiful experiences that have happened and will happen! (The picture of Cobie the Corgi exemplifies how 2019 has been for me so far.

My choice and flow of words of this post may be disorderly with grammar and not how I originally wanted it to be, but it’s early morning, and I got very little sleep last night lol. So, please bear with me

I flew back into the Bay Area last Thursday night arriving at Oakland International Airport. I was visiting my family back home in Southern California where my other family from across the pond (United Kingdom) visited my family for the first time. There, I met my cousin, cousin in law, and my niece and nephew who do not drift far away from my age. But anyways, I took BART and AC Transit back to my apartment when leaving the airport because no way did I want to spend twenty plus dollars for a hefty priced Lyft ride (haha). The next day I made plans to catch up with my friend Mary where we indulged in vegan food in Berkeley over at The Butcher’s Son. We caught up on gossip where she feeds me all the drama that tends to flow around the Bay Area Hardcore scene along with her issues as well. Later that day, I did errands all over Union City to try and come up with thoughtful gifts to buy for Destine and Aimee’s birthday.

Fast forward to the next week, yesterday Monday evening, I caught up with my other friend Aoife and took her to the Hello Kitty Cafe for the first time over in San Jose. We headed over to Cheesecake Factory first for dinner, and it wasn’t the greatest due to the food being so heavy and greasy which resulted in me feeling ridiculously anxious for the duration of the night (I’m surprised I was even remotely okay to drive back home). So far these are some of the few events that have made the first week of 2019 wonderful

Now, with some of the planned activities ahead, today, I will also be catching up with my long time friend and old coworker from Hot Topic, Kayla. We haven’t seen each other since we went to a Hardcore show in Cupertino and that was back in April last year…

Tomorrow will be on the heavier side: it will be my grandma’s third year of passing on to the next life. I distinctly remember the whole day as if it was yesterday and how it left the biggest hole in my heart. I had asked Destine to come along with me on this tough day, but more-so so that she can meet and spend a few minutes with her. I want my grandma to know how much of an impact Destine has made on me in the last couple of months of the 2018 year. It has been two in half years since I last visited my Grandma and I’m not sure of how the outcome will be but having someone there with me will relieve those unsure feelings.

This Sunday, my friend Alexa from San Diego will be visiting me for a few days. Since it’ll be raining half of her visit, I’m not sure there’s much we can cover for the duration of her stay, Coffee shops are definitely the go-to spots to take her to, but I can only hope for the best of what else is yet to come!

Destine’s birthday is coming up this month on the 27th, and I’m beyond excited to see her turn twenty! I spent a lot of time pondering on what gifts to buy her to show her what I know best of what she likes yet also show her how much I love her. During my visit down in Southern California, I visited San Diego with my twin brother along with my niece and nephew and picked up a few things that I’m excited to give to her including some of the gifts that I ordered online and bought up here in the Bay Area. She tells me to stop buying her gifts, but little does she know that there’s a few more to come (hehehehe).

Now, with this later event, I thought of in spur of the moment, the fact that I’m beyond ecstatic for. This April I will be taking Destine and me to a Water Lantern Festival in San Jose. Initially, I was surfing the internet looking for lantern festivals where people are allowed to launch lanterns up in the sky. Talk about them magical Tangled vibes, right? Unfortunately they didn’t have any of those experiences; however, I came across a link that listed out as a Water Lantern Festival. As doing research, reading the significance of these festivals, lurking on Instagram, watching YouTube videos, I was enthralled of how beautiful it was.. After a handful of minutes of critical thoughts, I decided to go and ask Destine to come and experience this kind of opportunity with me. I ended up buying us tickets, one for her as her early birthday present. Ultimately, my goal for the both of us to experience something new and existent for something that only happens once every year utilizing engaging in peace, hope, exploring happiness and comfort, bringing healing to each other, most importantly be present in our love for each other. When the festival does happen, I will make a post documenting the whole experience.

Now then, what is the whole gist of this post? These are just a few events that have occurred and will occur in the nearby future that I wanted to share with you. Primarily, I’m looking bright ahead of the year in hopes to encounter ‘the now’ through the moments and beautiful events that life feeds me with the company of good friends.

Thanks for reading this and have a blessed New Year!

– Josh

*whips and inserts song “Living My Best Life” by Lil Duval (feat. Snoop Dogg and Ball Greezy) hahaha

 

The Challenges That Be

I should attempt to ease into my posts with something that entails a soft tone instead of going straight for hard reflection. So, with that being said, here’s my attempt.

This post will be my personal reflection within myself as a person and the challenges that trailed along with it.

I’m sitting here at one of my favorite coffee shops in the Bay Area called Cafe 4, located in Castro Valley, typing out the words I can be vocal at best. Words that are not enough to express the disputes of the 2018 year. Though there were many moments where my cups of success triumphed, the other days where I felt bleak, empty, and cold convinced my brain activity in its full capacity that such feelings were to all I ever know. Every night when I would trail off to bed but could not find the comfort in rest is where my demons plagued me. This was also the year where I experienced heartbreak and rejection not once but twice in a matter of short months apart. This was also a trigger factor where I only grew to hate myself each day, persuading myself that my actions were never out of genuine love and care, but just for acceptance and confiding thus buying someone’s approval. Even if my tries were out of love and care, I feel as if they never hold up to their end of the bargain. Overall, I felt never good enough.. Though the people that do love and care about me to say that every effort I go out of my way is more than appreciated, I tell myself otherwise or I let those words of affirmation go from one ear out the other. To sum it all up, I feel worthless.

You know that saying that Master Yoda told young Anakin Skywalker, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Growing up watching the Star Wars movies, I never felt such a quote be remarkably applicable to my current life.

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I don’t want to be at a constant of endless disconnect with myself and others. I don’t want to continue to see myself only immersing in self-hatred. I don’t want my suffering to be the reason for my demise. I’m sure others can concur with me on that.

So, with all this hate-instilled fuel in my post, is there a silver lining to all this gray, empty feeling, bruised and beaten up mentality that continues to take over my body? For the most part, yes. As shocking as that does sound, there is that small vision of seeing the light in the darkness. That other small part of my brain advises me that that little glimmer of hope that I will not adhere to mental slavery as I already am. That the chains and shackles bound on me will be broken and I can just finally breathe in and out that small measure of peace that I always rave about.

With the ongoing struggle that I continue to wrestle with the idea of that still lies deep down in my core I am beyond grateful for those who understand where I’m coming from with all of this. Specifically, two people that have made the most significant impact this year, Aimee, who I have mentioned countless times from previous posts and continues to support me through all the emotional rifts, and Destine, someone who I am just now introducing into my blogs.

Since this is my first time talking about Destine, I will do so in this post. She came into my life when I needed someone the most. We have grown close ever since opening up to each other even our most vulnerable parts where we have been at our lowest. So far, she is thriving in life and continues to do so with the healing power of her loved ones. Her strength,  kindness, sociableness, a smile is what gives me the drive and inspiration to be at peace with myself.

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Destine, thank you for everything and for listening to my nonsense. You have impacted so much wisdom, knowledge, and kindness that I cannot reach such a caliber. The magnitude of how much love I have for you is immeasurable. Carry on with the same characteristics that I know of you so well, my dear. I will continue to support you with all my being for you are a sunflower in my life. I love you dearly and unconditionally.

My goal for this upcoming 2019 year is to be on the starting point of stability with myself for the first time and make the best out of it. Through there is where I can navigate myself in discovering that small measure of peace. Though the challenges will front itself at me and little triggers will avert my attention to the negatives, I will do my best to take things one day at a time.

These are the challenges that be.

 

 

The Love of Quality Time

If it’s one thing about me, it’s that I LOVE spending quality time with people. This can be a 1 on 1 interaction at our favorite coffee or boba shop, or even a group setting indulging in delicious Korean barbecue and taking shots of soju. Though these are some of my own personal experiences, I favor more of the 1 on 1 aspect because it has more of an intimate feel to it.

I remember having a 1 on 1 with my direct supervisor in the Student Housing Department of my college. These 1 on 1’s are not only mandatory, but my supervisor makes it best to have it intimate to where it doesn’t feel forced and having to direct every issue dealing with residents about policy violations in Housing or maintenance issues/requests due to the condition of the apartment complex. These 1 on 1’s are the opportunities to be human and voice such concerns about our own lives.

I took this idea but implemented it with the people that I love & care about. Every 1 on 1 spent with a different person has an outcome of new positive emotions that transpire as well as feelings that gravitate towards stronger feelings of love & care. These moments are the time where undivided, uninterrupted attention is dedicated towards this person, and this also applies to the other party. When you are giving them that time, you are giving them those moments where you will never get back and showing that they are worth that sacrifice. That’s the beautiful thing about life, is that we allow to let these people in our lives and allow ourselves to dedicate that love for them using quality time. Even with a multitude of demands in the 24 hour time frame of each day, we do best to be able to work accordingly around our schedules and are willing to make those sacrifices without ever having to think twice. It’s a refreshing feeling knowing that you and that one person are sharing thus making a recollection that you can take down memory lane.

Quality time comes in different forms, such as doing an activity that one party enjoys while the other partakes in that interest. Even if having no sense of the given action, do best to question it, show deep interest, this knows that you’re willing to put in a loving effort of showing them that you love and care about them.

My boss and I share the same philosophy: “people that you love & care about come first.” I stand by this statement to the fullest extent. Ending on a good note, if you are willing to make those enormous sacrifices that require effortless planning, money, and more, you are showing that person that they are worth it. That in the end, they are worth everything.

The Ugly Truth

Ever since I started to embark on this journey of journaling my experiences and express the darkest of feelings I’ve learned to come across such posts. Those blogs on the topics of love, heartbreak, healing, driven kindness, any kind of human emotion that is essential and that I can resonate with to the fullest. I find comfort in these sort of posts no matter how triggering and painful they get when reading about them.

At best, I know what I am getting myself into and the shocking truth of what I fear and feel so utterly embarrassed and ashamed about, but for what specific reason?

I fear of the actual truth and facing it seems more daunting than actually said. I feel ashamed in that sense that I cannot withstand and accept that kind of realization, that these feelings I have are real and completely normal. I guess that it ties along with that sense of embarrassment in which my pride settles in and a wave of uncertainty floods in.

Some of you may ask what “truth” I’m talking about. For me it’s the simple truth of fear and fearing to face the sure reality with nerve-wracking human emotions. It feels like a plague which treatment cannot suffice. At times, I wish that I can never feel and be numb to these emotions. That way my heart will never have to go through those highs that can instantly turn into such lows.

But to come to think about those flustered feelings, it’s a beautiful struggle.

Life is, in fact, constantly and irrefutably, a beautiful struggle.

We focus on things that we tend to leave our feelings on the back burner. We forget how fragile life can be once something traumatic or heart-wrenching creeps in and settles for a duration of time, and that focus is directed towards whatever emotions we want to feel and subside in.

Though going through such chaos and hell, we eventually find the time to heal. Healing can take days, months, years, maybe even what we consider a lifetime, but always remember to heal at your own pace. Never feel the need of pressure from someone to rid yourself of whatever plague that surfaces. Most importantly, never pressure yourself to heal at a fast rate. Just like college, there’s no rush whether it’s four years or even seven years, take your time. You heal at your own rate. Remember to surround yourself with those that want to be a part of your healing process.

As much of a work in progress I am, this settling feeling shall wither eventually. As the saying goes, “this too shall pass” as much as I want it to, I believe that some small measure of hope, it shall.

And that’s the ugly truth, to wrap it all up.

Thanks for listening to me Ted Talk. HAHA

Where I checked back in

This summer was very short-lived in all honesty. I had six weeks of freedom to do as I pleased back home but to an extent (typical strict Filipino moms). But as my summer had come to an abrupt end, I had to jump back into Resident Assistant training as a returner RA. I had no worries in this position, especially with the fantastic team that I always have with each having their unique sense of style to handle certain and difficult situations. From these 9-5, sometimes six work timeframe was the most tiresome hours I have been through, there have been certain days where they have fully stood out to me.

I’ll never forget going on my second retreat as an RA and where I felt utterly disconnected.

It was the first Thursday of August, and the whole RA team were on their way to go on a retreat to Point Bonita YMCA center in Sausalito just right outside of San Francisco. To make a long story short, it was better than last years and more refreshing.

However, things just came at me sideways, and I still do not fully understand why they did. The flow of this disconnect came in the afternoon of the first day, and it was honestly the hardest feeling to feel especially in front of the entire Res Life team. As stated, this feeling was indescribable and frustrating to wrap my head around, and thoughts were floating in my head that afternoon to night constantly. Even when half of the RA team and myself took a walk down to the beach, I coerced myself to snap out of that feeling but it didn’t work whatsoever, or at least I think it didn’t. I was masking my emotions that were written all over my face, and no one saw it. I guess I do a damn good job at that. The beach was an eye gazer for sure, and the whole vibe of those moments spent on the area was just the right amount of what a measure of serenity is. But why was I feeling the way I was and hating myself on such a beautiful day surrounded by beautiful people taking their pictures to distract myself. I was facing something that made me wanted to scream and punch the concrete walls of my apartment, and I have no idea how I was still able to go on about that whole time in front of everyone. I had felt that I had given up on the world as it did for me.

As depressing as this post sounds already, I checked back in with myself unintentionally. Someone saved me from this even if it was only for twenty plus minutes, those moments salvaged me for the time being.

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My good friend Aimee who I have previously mentioned in one of my posts, “Two Souls” was also at the beach with half of the entire RA team. Even when I was feeling so flustered, I had always been checking in on her that whole day because it was a nerve-wracking experience for her and plus I still do on a sound basis. The sun was setting reaching about to reach the cover of darkness some RA’s started to trail off the beach to go back to the campfire session with half of the ResLife team, I bumped into her and had asked her how she was doing. This was me trying to force myself to be there for someone that I genuinely love and care about no matter how bad I was feeling emotionally. This is when I snapped out of it and checked back in. Ironic as that sounds, right? After I had asked her that, she told me that something was really bothering her and I can tell that it was for the rest of that day.

As the other RA’s were straying off the beach to head back to the center I had asked Aimee to sit down on a wooden log with me overlooking the beach with the huge cliffs to the far left-side of us and just simply discuss the issue she had been facing. We had talked about it, and hopefully it made her better, but in all honesty, it made me feel better. Usually, something like this would sound as if it were coming straight out of an adventure or love novel, even a movie, but everything about that moment meant everything to me. The fact that someone came to me first stood out. In here they wanted to vent and discuss their personal problems to me while sitting on a log on the beach, overlooking the Pacific Ocean with its waves crashing on the lower rocks of the cliffs, seagulls with other marine animals passing by along with the summer sun setting in front of us, with the cool ocean breeze swaying in, and just having that pleasant conversation of remedying the underlying situation literally meant everything to me that evening. I comforted her as best as I could and reassured her that everything will fall into place. I hugged her and told her that I loved her offering the 110% support she deserves. I know that it sounds weird and even just typing while reading it out sounds funny, but I hope you all get where I’m coming from with this.

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I know later in the nighttime the emotions came flooding back as I was wandering aimlessly in the wild while everyone was enjoying the campfire and sharing a multitude of laughter with songs of hype and love, but as I reflect on that specific moment with Aimee, it was something that I will never forget about during my college years. It meant everything to me and still does to this very day.

I ended up getting my 15th tattoo in dedication of this moment and scenery. It serves as a gentle reminder and a dedication of that special moment with her.

I will never forget that spent Summer evening moment with Aimee. I take a walk down memory lane and revisit that blissful experience with her in hopes that I would see her there where we can sit at that very same wooden log, at the same exact spot, with the same beautiful setting where nothing else mattered, and everything is right in the world. The description of scenery I previously mentioned inexplicably felt right at that moment. It was absolute, and for that evening I felt ok because it’s where I checked back in.

L’exquisite douleur

One of the the most powerful things in this world is love. The love from family, an animal, a friend, a significant other, your partner for life, it is no doubt one of life’s greatest feelings that a living creature can ever feel. However, it can be the most cutting and hurtful emotion one can face. All my life I was taught of the idea that the greatest law is love indeed, and that in the end it is love that wins. I truly do believe that to the furthest extent. It is irrefutable to say that this emotion carries an insignificant amount of heartbreak and turmoil in unexplainable methods.

Heartbreak comes in many forms when love is intertwined: the heartbreak of not feeling loved as before or seeing betrayal as if the love was a myth in disguise.

The kind of “love” that resonates more with me, or so I feel like I have an endless connection with is the French phrase, “La Doleur Exquise”.  This phrase holds a remarkable stamp of my approval for how relatable the context is and the complicated affection that holds no title for relationships.

“The exquisite pain of wanting someone that you know you can never have, and knowing that you will still try to be with them.” The best explanation for a phrase that has so much meaning to me on a personal level. I know that I titled this post differently than the actual phrase itself but for a certain reason. One of the most noted bands in the music scene I associate with, Being As An Ocean, tackled this phrase in the most sophisticated way I can only imagine.

“You just can’t see all that you are to me. So I’ll just have to learn to be alright. Without you by my side. My bed seems so much colder at night.”

These lyrics may be read in a simple minded status but the song itself holds more emotion and feeling..

I may not fully understand why I feel like this but it serves as a gentle and hurtful reminder ironically so that my heart never forgets it’s flaw.. To prevent it from forgetting the keen sting of one-sided love.. So that when and if it happens again I’ll be used to the pain no matter how aching it gets.

From what I thought would be a beautiful relationship can make a huge one-eighty resulting back to square one.

This is just a fraction of how I feel towards this espceically discussing this sensitive emotion.

I try my very best to show the people that I care about the love and affection they need. From simple things as sending text messages to remind them to hydrate on water, going out of my way to the store and surprise them with their favorite snack, to even those serious moments where I fully embrace them and tell that I appreciate them for existing and letting me be a part of their life.

In serious moments, where a majority of times I feel as if I am not loved enough or appreciated I find myself questioning if I should ever feel remotely apologetic for feeling the love I have for people. One-sided love, unrequited love, it is blinding and confusing in the darkest of times where this may be the only feeling that is actually and simply there. It cuts very deep and all you can do is smile faintly with a subtle expression, holding in an emotional scar.

L’exquisite douleur. Thank you for existing to remind myself that I am alive and that love will never be an easy discovery.

Two Souls

I’ll never forget the earlier years of my college endeavor, especially up to now. Before I got involved working for Student Housing I wouldn’t have come to think that this department would bring me close to many people that I hold dear to. Specifically, two people have made a huge impact on me these past few months in particular. Ironically, they are both in Greek Life Organizations in the same sorority. Who knew that these two individuals would have made such a huge impact on my life for the better.

At first, I made quick judgements based on the reputation that Greek Life holds as a whole: partying, enough beer cans/bottles to make stain glassed windows at churches, sexual assaults/rape, khaki shorts and Sperry shoes, valley girls, the list goes on. As ending my 4th year here, I’ve learned that those hasty assumptions are not all true. I’ve grown and learned to work with people in that community who turn out to be some of the greatest people I know and love.

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This person I became close with my 4th year of college is Clara. She was my Resident Assistant for the first quarter of my 2nd year and sure enough she had to move to another area. Years pass and I would remember seeing her my 3rd year here and there living in the library and tackling her nursing school work. 4th year hits and we both became RA’s in the same department but in different areas. More library instances happened to the point where we found each other studying together doing our own classwork. Oddly enough we hung out more and more other than just the library and we eventually became close.

Every food run, laughing about the unnecessary, inside jokes, always reminded me of the dry humor and inner dad jokes that I have potential of. Every hang out was 99% of these instances.

I consider her ‘Daily’ because of the frequent hang outs and time together we spend on a day-to-day basis and she does the same. Clara and I became close other than just stupid jokes and laughs: we found ourselves in serious conversations at times where they became genuine and different from others, especially the conversations of my depression, but not as in depth as I share. Now, she has graduated from undergrad with a Bachelor’s in Nursing. I cannot stress enough how proud of a Daily I am and how sad I am now that we won’t be working alongside together.. Though she may have graduated and I will no longer be seeing her as frequent, she will always be a Daily to me, a Daily that I love very much.

 

 

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I remember this day vividly. It was the week of Thanksgiving break on a Monday over at Tierra Mia in Oakland. Aimee was raving how great of a place it is so we had our coffee date here and it was our first 1 on 1 in months.. An overdue one that we both desperately needed.

This is Aimee, someone that is very special to me and like no other person I have met here at East Bay. I met Aimee during FDA training in September ’16, we paired up for an activity exercise because everyone else seemed to have paired up so we looked over and smiled at each other and did the activity together. From 3rd year we were coworkers but were able to work night shifts together sporadically.. We would see each other on a seldom basis and had a class together. By the 4th year we were able to lock in more time spent along with having a class together.

Ever since this year, our relationship has blossomed to something beautiful that I wouldn’t have come to think of. Aimee continues to have this happy, upbeat, and positive personality that I rarely see nowadays. It would physically and mentally pain me to see her hurt because how can a big ball of sunshine be an emotional bean the next?

The role of being an RA has taught me multiple things from this person; but one important thing that I learned from Aimee is the value of spending 1 on 1 time no matter who it is. Every 1 on 1 we got to spend together has always had a great outcome; just getting coffee, food, or the simple visits at her work always made my day brighter and happier. Matter of fact, just seeing Aimee for a brief moment would instantly change a bad day into a great one. Her smile would always leave a huge smile on mine and my heart which is what everyone should see in a person.

If it wasn’t for Aimee, I honestly wouldn’t know where I would be to this day.. In the world of being an RA, it is mandated in the contract to have weekly 1 on 1’s with our supervisors. I implemented this idea for Aimee and I but differently. Our 1 on 1’s consisted of laughs, heart to heart conversations, and even moments where tears were shed through hearing one another about their passions, through serious instances, and so on. She would always listen to me no matter what I had to say; whether it would be good or bad, she never passed any harsh judgement to me. She has always given me the words of encouragement and advice in the most endearing way possible. If it wasn’t for Aimee, I would forget how to keep a calm manner within myself even forget to check back in and most of all be in touch with my emotions.

 

To wrap this up, both are equally wonderful in their own unique image. They are brave, courageous, down-to-earth young ladies that I love. Both of them have been there for me through perilous situations hearing the same stories but have given me different viewpoints making such immense impacts on my life in different ways, and I cannot thank them enough for letting me grow with them and mending me through my own war.. Who knew that two important individuals would come from a stigmatized culture who turned out to be the most sweetest, caring, and admirable people I know?

Clara, thank you for everything and the mom humor you always through at me even when I don’t laugh at your jokes 50% of the time. You taught me how to be a better thinker for myself and to let things happen naturally along with living in the moment.

Aimee, thank you also for everything.. For always listening to me no matter what I had to say. I know I had come down more with negative thoughts this past year but you were always the one to make something negative flipped to a positive side. Thank you for teaching me the value of 1 on 1 time and giving me the drive to become a better listener. Thank you for reassuring me and showing me the gentle reminders of my emotions.

I love you both with all my heart and I want you to know that I’m trying my best to be a better person..

I am forever grateful for life letting these two souls cross my path.