Where has she been…? And who am I?

I’m in the business of seeing. At least I want to be.

Since senior year of college, I’ve been involved in the art world. As much as I’ve allowed myself to be. As much as the art world has allowed me to be. Creativity, expression, and art have always held an interesting place in my life. They have been my guiding lights, the tenets by which I live. Yet I have taken little action to assert myself in these ways. Without an artistic background or formal training, I have stood on the sidelines appreciating and wishing. It’s not that I am afraid of failure–it’s that sometimes it’s easier not to try. Sure, that’s not as gratifying. And there are always excuses to be made. But the point is I am now “doing me” as best as possible. As I’m rounding out my 25th year, I’m finding that not trying is getting harder than just doing the damn thing. This pent up energy must be put to good use. I still don’t have a clear picture of what this “thing” is, but I’m finally ready to start creating it. There is too much inspiration around me not to.

Consider this blog… why has it been 7 months since I have last written? It’s certainly not a lack of material. It might be hesitation to put myself out there, though people who know me would not believe that. Do I have better things to do? Have I been doing better things? Yes and no.

When I am getting to know somebody, I love to ask, “What you be doing if money, education, and time were not an issue?” Dream jobs can say a lot about person. Alternatively, I enjoy finding out what someone would do if they had one hour of free time. What would you most like to do in the world with 60 spare minutes? My default answer is writing. Specifically for this blog. But somehow, I’ve let seven months get away.

I do know one thing. I have been looking and seeing. And I’ve been inspired. I’ve been reading, watching, and listening. And I’ve been inspired. Feast your eyes on some of the beauty and creativity below.

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Rest area at The Ebell of Long Beach, CA

Diaper babies I made for a baby shower

Diaper babies I made for a baby shower

Restroom sign at The Ebell of Long Beach

Restroom sign

My Halloween nail adornments

My Halloween nail adornments

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Part of a Madmade Designs baby shower set-up at Booze Brothers in Vista, CA

Earlier this year, I made a decision to stay stagnant in my full-time position. It afforded me so much freedom, time for leisure, low stress. I convinced myself early on that I would have time to work on my other projects, which was true. Needless to say, I haven’t made much progress in those either. But I’ve reached a tipping point. I’m ready to do me. Really do me, even if that means doing extra work. Procrastination will no longer plague me. 2016 is not far off and there is plenty to accomplish. I’ve spoken some goals into existence, but here they are for good measure:

  • Find a meaningful full-time position
  • Lead a healthier lifestyle (physically and mentally)
  • Get my small business up and running (and profitable!)
  • Start (and hopefully finish) the digital photography certificate program I enrolled in
  • Buy a house
  • Travel to Europe

XOXO

Obligatory 2011 Recap Blog Post

Although I haven’t been keeping up with my 30-Day Challenge, I feel compelled to recap this past year, as time seems to pass more quickly each day. I’ve neglected to recap the last couple years–a testament to how fleeting time really is. You better believe I used to do those Xanga posts that highlight seemingly trivial highs and lows of year past [have a laugh at that one :P]. Maybe you can find them if you’re lucky.

I’m laying on the floor of my boyfriend’s room, on the borderline of being sick, with the second installment of the 7th Harry Potter movie in the background. After a 5-day long road trip across the country, now seems as good a time as any to reflect on that last 364 days. Yes, I did the simple math, seeing as today is the 30th… for 35 more minutes anyway. I’m running on EST over here. And although I’ve traveled by car through the various time zones, I’m some form of jetlagged. Or car-lagged, I suppose.

Just like the 21st Century woman that I am, I Googled a framework for this blog from which to work. Nothing is original nowadays. Oh well, I’m down! This was one of the top hits: Reflection Before Resolution.

What did I accomplish this year?

  1. I became the Art Series Director of the Cultural Affairs Commission. After a tough journey through student government elections, I found a way to tap into my interests, while serving my community and the students I represent. Such a role was not something I foresaw in the earlier parts of college, but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m learning so much in so many different aspects of my college experience and it’s such a trip. From logistical matters, to navigating the university, to developing leaders, and being critical about everything from art to social issues and more–it’s all a part of my job.

    Part of the crowd at my first Art Series event

  2. I got straight A’s during my two summer sessions. Summer is usually a time to mess around and have fun, all of which is did ;) But to have been studying subjects I thoroughly enjoyed [Urbanization and Culture in New York City and Sociological Theory] made all the difference. Sure, one of my professors was SUPER easy to get by, but trust me… I’ve gotten horrible grades in easy classes before.
  3. I read a book for leisure. Small victories, okay? I bought “Water for Elephants” at an airport convenience store. It was a wonderful read. If only I had spent all my time in the air reading instead of sleeping. College is definitely not a time when leisurely reading is easily completed. It’s not even a time when required reading is completed. So there’s that.
  4. I secured an internship in the Exhibitions Department at LACMA. I think I’ve finally found something I’m genuinely interested in. Art and art history. I hope this opportunity takes me to new and exciting places and helps me learn awesome things. But I also hope some of that is useful in the real world :P
  5. I stepped out of my box and completed a travel-study program in New York City.Best. Summer. Ever. I love the Big Apple. Definitely a life-changing experience. I always saw travel-study as something for rich kids or dreamers or people who have time… and looking back, I don’t quite know what I meant by that.

    The view from “Top of the Rock”

What am I grateful for?

What if you woke up today with only the things you said you were thankful for yesterday?

In short… EVERYTHING. The triumphs, tribulations, all of it. For 2011, there are some specifics.

  1. I’m grateful for the amount of time I got to spend with Ez while he was completing his training at Twentynine Palms. This is the closest we’ve ever lived to each other -_- I hate to ramble on about the love we share, how we’ve got forever to go, and how my favorite thing to do with this guy is eat. See this postfor that.

    Before watching The Lion King in 3D at the El Capitan Theater

  2. By default, I’m also grateful for all the time I got to spend with my parents over the weekends because I usually went back to Chino Hills to see Ez. In the last three years of college, I rarely went home since I was always preoccupied with happenings in LA or elsewhere. As I get older, I realize how short, seemingly insignificant moments make all the difference. Although my parents and I never really made plans and pretty much saw each other in passing, it’s comforting to know that I have them there. And it’s awesome that I still get free food, laundry, shelter, etc :) I’m also thankful that they take care of Teddy. But who wouldn’t want to take care of a little bear as cute as that one?

    Thanksgiving Lunch

  3. I’m glad my family is still capable of coming together for the holidays, because Lord knows we rarely see each other the rest of the year. Christmas bingo was especially fun ;) “The chair is drunk!”

    Christmas Eve, photo courtesy of Kelsay!

  4. I’m also thankful for people who have continually made an effort in our friendships, no matter where life has taken us. The ones in TDB who take time to care, ya know the deal: what you put in, is what you get out. Although I am not and was never at the capacity to be BFF with everyone, there are a certain few who I know I’ll be inviting to my wedding. ;) Okay, I will shout out SPA specifically because they are a bunch of big-headed egomaniacs who would probably demand such things. That’s why I love them. Miles separate all of us and somehow, we still manage to be cute together.
  5. I definitely have to put it down for my SF! family. The ten of us went through a process that no one else will ever go through or understand and we have proven time and time again that our bonds are unbreakable. After my first two years at UCLA, I felt like I ran out of time to make “real” friends but these knuckleheads proved me wrong.

    So Fabulous!

  6. As for other new friends: *DJJC* Even though these guys are older than me, they sure don’t act like it! I spent majority of my time in NYC with these three and wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’m sure the reason we’re all spending New Year’s apart is because the world could not handle and *DJJC* type of New Year. From Cyrus chugging Guinness, to Jason drinking a few too many shark bombs, and Jose having 1800 and Ciroc stashed in his trunk… it’s been wild. And it’s gonna continue to be wild until our livers are no longer functioning properly.

    *DJJC*

  7. Three of my best friends from junior high/high school who I came to college with: John, Tila, and Reyes. Although we don’t spend as much time together as we would like, it’s amazing how we can kick it like not a day has gone by and not a thing has changed. How many people get to go to college with their best friends? You should be jealous.

    JD at Downtown Disney. I’m a little upset I have no recent pictures with Reyes and Tila :/

  8. Of course I am grateful for the education I am getting and the opportunities and experiences I have been able to grab along the way. I know I am privileged to be in such a position and I will not take it for granted. I want to be super First World and list all the material things for which I am grateful (this blog isn’t hand-written, after all…) but I will just acknowledge the ability to have such material things and not take those for granted either.
  9. I’m grateful for all the traveling I have done and how much of the United States I have gotten to see this past year. This is a big crazy place, and most Americans will never realize or experience that. My current tally of states I’ve visited is 31 + DC. One day, I’ll have gone to all 50. I will never get over the stressfulness of the airport, but it’s a part of traveling I’m have to accept.
  10. Lastly, I’m grateful to live in SoulCal because it has so much to offer and I hope to take advantage of it before getting the f*ck out of this place. :P I will do so by first renewing my Premium Annual Passport to Disneyland.

What lessons did I learn?

There are no inherently right answers to any question. In 2011, I had to make a lot of decisions about myself, my activities and involvements, my relationships, and my priorities. Had I chosen otherwise in some situations, I may not have my SF! family, I may not have gotten to travel all over the country, and I may not even be in a relationship with Ezrael. But I have answered those questions accordingly and thereby live with my choices. And I couldn’t be happier with them :) There is no correct way to go about to process of answering the question either. “Is it gut instinct? Do I make a list of pros and cons? Should I sleep on it?” This year, I learned that every decision is a leap of faith [*cue Inception music].

I learned about what I am actually interested in, such as art/art history and personal development. And the only way to continue to grow as a person is to keep learning about the world around me. I could be doing something I truly love day in and day out, but it will become static if I don’t continue to learn and grow.

Look past minor hurdles in order to see the bigger picture… while still keeping in mind that it is those small obstacles and victories that shape who I am.

I can succeed in the classroom if I invest in my education adequately. Although grades will never define who I am (unless I’m applying to grad school :/), I can still do well in school. I only have two quarters left, but I want to find time to apply myself, in the midst of everything else I am doing.

Close relationships are worth the effort. And picking up the phone is easier than I thought. Whenever I need someone to talk to… there was someone there for me, as much as I sometimes tried to convince myself there wasn’t. Sure, it seems that some friendships come naturally, but that doesn’t mean maintaining them will. A lot of people appreciate phone calls nowadays so everyone needs to go call someone right now! I know it is weak ties that provide us with the most opportunities for advancement and enrichment in terms of career goals or personal endeavors (take that, Sociology 102). But investing in strong ties is necessary for the soul. Plus, you need to have people to laugh with and confess how fake you had to be with such and such weak ties to get where you are now :P

Stepping out of my comfort zone can reap a multitude of rewards that I may not have even been seeking. In the past, I would only jump at opportunities that I knew I would excel at, because I didn’t like to take risks if I wasn’t going to be “successful.” But in 2011,  I took more leaps of faith (*cue Inception music again) and found myself in places I never dreamed of with people I never knew. Ex: student government elections, NYC travel-study, LACMA internship, Samahang board.

What might I have done differently?

I suppose this is a jumping off point for my resolutions. But perhaps I should just resolve to do things differently, rather than merely listing my shortcomings. 2011 was an amazing year of discovery and growth, but there is no doubt that it could have been better.

I would have slept less. I am a sucker for sleep and the hardest part of my day is getting out of bed, but I rarely regret it when I do. Something else I never regret doing is working out. Definitely would have done more of that. Yes, it’s good for the body, but it’s also a great way to rejuvenate the mind and soul. I would have budgeted better, but who am I kidding? I love buying clothes -_- My most recent spree, however, was limited to clothes I can wear to my internship. But shhh, I made sure they could double as clothes for going out ;) I would have gone to mass more and explored my faith and spirituality. I’m definitely a part of the statistic concerning the most inactive age group in the Catholic church. My faith is something I need to develop more, especially before I get married and start a career. I would have spent more time with friends and family, even if it means studying together, or just having lunch. I would have written/blogged more because it is how I do my best reflecting. Lastly, I would have explored Southern California more. Despite all my traveling, I still feel as if there is most to be discovered where I’m from. [Okay, NYC is a close second.] Ultimately, the thing I would have done differently is manage my time better. It’s a little difficult to swallow all these potential resolutions that call for “more,” but it can be manageable if only I got my lazy butt out of bed!

I am still young. I am still invincible. I will have an amazing 2012. And if I don’t… the world is supposed to end anyway, so I can bank on that :P And if that doesn’t work out… then I guess I will look to 2013.

(The above statement about the year doesn’t mean anything, I suppose. I’m not one for arbitrary dates and numbers, remember? They’re all social constructions! We’re all just suckers for a reason to party.)

“We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.” -Marshall McLuhan

Happy new year, everyone! And best wishes on those resolutions ;)

Greetings

Dear WordPress,

I am (somewhat) new here. Please be gentle with me. This is perhaps my 7th online journal of sorts… I felt it was time to move on to bigger and better things. I hope to refine my writing skills and further my personal development, which for me, is always best done through reflection. Also, Tumblr just wasn’t doing it for me. Pretty over Facebook too. Why are social networking/online personas so difficult for me to reconcile? I think the trouble lies in that I try to reconcile them at all… when many lead two (or more) separate lives and are fine with it.

This is just another “distraction” from the priorities society has set forth for me, especially with all the advanced tools I surely don’t know how to use. However, it is really a distraction when my personal vision is to grow as a person in whatever ways possible? Oh, societal pressures, you work in funny ways.

I will be embarking on a 30-day challenge, although it sounds a little Tumblr-esque. It does provide some good writing guidance when my goal is to keep writing. Some days I have a case of verbal diarrhea and have no sense of direction. Hence, [non]Sense of Direction. Let’s try to remedy that, shall we?

As my blog posts always end… I have tons of things to do, procrastination, blah blah blah, money troubles… there you have it! I will now leave you with a photo of the complete opposite of my life: worry-free, can eat endlessly and sleep all day–and it’s perfectly acceptable.