From A Summer Whirlwind


The last two weeks prior to my flight have been quite a breather: not to be catching deadlines, worrying about housing situations, dreading the next semester, nor wondering about my next job. I allowed myself to breathe and let go of the realities I needed to face once I was back. To have that mental peace and quiet (and a little bit of boredom) was a gift, and I've been treasuring it as much as I could. But it's in times like this that lead me to contemplate and regress into the corners of my mind: reminiscing moments that made me smile and the unexpected realizations that dawned on me.

Fall Season is upon us, and with this comes a new chapter. Now that I'm back in San Francisco, writing to you in the comforts of my new apartment, the nostalgia is starting to hit home and all I can think about is the whirlwind that was my summer.

Last season, a lot of unexpected things happened and whenever I think back to everything that went on in the past four months, it still surprises me to no end. Life is an enlightening journey and every turn we make, we gather bits and pieces of realizations and lessons that the Universe asks us to hold on to.

Deepak Chopra writes, "Realizations are mysterious events and every desire pushes you in a certain direction." 


Know that love comes when you least expect it.

Love is a journey and it definitely works in surprising ways. Finding love again this summer is one of the most unexpected thing that happened to me. I never imagined I would go back and find comfort and home in someone who has always loved me.

"Maybe I needed to grow. Maybe we both needed to grow. To experience, to be ourselves, before seeking the love we deserve. Maybe we both needed to be on our own paths before the hands of fate would intertwine it once again. And isn’t that what love is all about? To discover and rediscover yourselves until you find your way back to each other."


Learn how to work efficiently around your habits.

Being self-aware brings you to consciousness on your work ethics, your habits and how you deal with certain situations.

It's been a year since I last worked on a project and it took a bit of getting used to again. Taking cue of my habits, I know that I work optimally during the night and so I constructed a schedule that would keep me productive and working at my peak on hours that I'm most motivated. I have the habit of multi-tasking simply because I can't focus on working on a single task for too long, and I used this to my advantage — sometimes working up to three or four illustrations a night and finishing them in a couple of days. It's the most efficient way for me to work.

Being attuned to yourself and how you work makes it easier to strategize, schedule, and plan on what you have to do to get things done.

I'm the type of person that easily gets stressed under pressure and overwhelming environments, so I plan ahead to make things more efficient and more optimal for me to deal with. Another real-life example: Whenever I do laundry, I usually organize them into piles and put them in laundry nets. At first, I would do this organizing strategy just before I do the laundry itself. Later on, I realized that wasted my time in the mornings, so I made the habit of organizing them as I go by putting them in the right laundry net pile. It saves time and makes it easier for me to simply place everything in a bag and get going during laundry days.

This way of working around a certain situation allows more room for me to breathe than constantly floating aimlessly and becoming a train wreck. It eliminates stress and gives me mental clarity while at the same time creates efficiency.


Create in the outskirts of your comfort zone.

As creatives, we need to constantly explore and take risks with our craft.

I previously talked about experimenting with a new style, which was the result of my painting class last fall semester. I dabbled in Hybridity & Abstraction in some of my paintings, which I also wrote about and shared on this space.

That same drive pushed me to work in a different way with my summer project with Marla & Reese. I've always considered my illustrations in a painterly manner, but with this type of work I challenged myself to think and create in a more graphic sense. That is to say, lots of linework drawings with a constrictive palette in order to make the body of work more cohesive and less intricate.

I enjoyed the type of work that I did on this project and it made me realize my capabilities as an artist. Experimenting can take you as far as your skills can imagine and growth is on the outskirts of your comfort zone.

As I said before and I'll say it again, continue to push your ideas and let it evolve to something new.


Realize that the universe is working in the details of your life.

Realize that things happen for a reason. We are moved by the forces of the Universe and guided by our inner awareness.

This isn't something that I have merely observed in the unfolding story of my life but in the stories of people I know and care about as well. No matter how phenomenal or devastating an event comes into our life, know that the Universe is weaving a story that will only be true to our journey. We have to trust that whatever it is, means that it will shape us into becoming the person that we need to become to achieve our purpose, goals and passion. We have to keep faith, be strong and trust ourselves that we'll wade through whatever curve-ball life throws at us. We have that infinite potential to overcome anything if we choose to believe.


Be fearlessly vocal.

Confront situations that needs confronting.

Tell that person what they did wrong. Let them know why you think so while keeping an open mind to their side of the story. Educate and voice your opinions without judgement. People make mistakes and things happen, but that doesn't mean we simply need to be bystander's to everything that goes on, especially if it involves people that you love or concerns a community that needs awareness of a certain situation. Be a mindful advocate. As Yoko Ono subtly puts it: "Don't be a couch potato!"


Keep your connections thriving.

Every people we meet, we create a connection.

If there's one important thing that I've learned, it's that connection is a powerful thing. Every individual we meet could be the next person who could help you out in the industry or simply share their own inspiring experiences that could unravel personal realizations or be the reason why you're creating a new experience for yourself.

Whenever I come back home, I always make it a point to catch up with my family and close knit friends, as well as the people I've met in the industry. Speaking of this reminds me of my acquaintance with Jo Rubles, whom I met two years ago at a coffee shop. We never really hung out, except for that single time we met at Yardstick. From then on we only conversed through Instagram. Just about a month ago, we decided to catch up and we had a pleasant exchange of stories and ideas. Needless to say, it turned out to be one of the most inspiring meet-up I've had over the summer. Now we're building a connection and helping each other out in the creative industry and it's a beautiful thing to witness and unfold.

Absorb, connect and thrive in the community that you build around yourself. Don't let those connections you've built be forgotten. Try to connect and reconnect with people you've met, come across with or wish to know. Surround yourself with individuals who inspire and help you. In turn, give back the kindness and pass on the same light and inspiration to others.


Remind yourself that self-love starts with acceptance.

True happiness comes from within, and the first step is to embracing our truest self.

On this path to self-awareness, acceptance is the first part of healing in any aspect of what we go through. Getting down to the ultimate source of it, acknowledging your feelings and thoughts and accepting that you feel that way is always the first step to overcoming insecurities, doubts, anxieties and a whole bubble of negativities. 

By accepting ourselves wholly, that is without judgement or a string of negative criticisms, we discover the path to healing and self-love.

That concludes the whirlwind of realizations from my summer. It reminds me of something I once read: every moment, every event contains a realization waiting for us to acknowledge. Life contains the very answer and learning experience that we need to pursue and create growth.


Continue to pursue things that will let you grow into a better version of yourself.

Because ultimately, it’s up to us to trust our inner instincts and to listen to the whispers of each moment we experience.