Grace was everywhere.
Going to Kota Kinabalu with my incredible friend, Hannah, is easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. Yes, it meant having unnecessary anxiety attacks days before our flight, having a sore body for an entire week, and draining my savings after months of preparation but it was an adventure I would write about again and again.
We experienced rain for the first time while traversing through a river in search ...
Most of my photos are grounded in people, I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out experience etched on a person’s face.
As a portrait photographer exposed to the the deviously flawless world of beauty and fashion (photography) so early on in my life, the fear of imperfect photographs has always limited my craft. For a very long time, I restricted my perception of beauty to the ...
I like 23. Wait, I actually love 23.
I wish I could stay 23 because this time, I actually (try to) make good choices.
23 is an age of perfectly balanced careless abandon and adventure, righteous selfishness and responsibility, forgivable youth and self-limitation. It is all sorts of (crazy) wonderful and exhilarating. Do not be deceived. I still am much weak, fragile, and detestable things I wish I weren’t, yet I am comforted by the fact that I have my entire life to become a person I could be proud of.
The past year has led me to truly grow spiritually and emotionally. I have had so much breakthroughs that has caused a quiet, all-encompassing revolution in my heart. I can only pray that these things I have learned through the Lord’s constant wisdom and guidance – an emptying of myself, an overflow of Him – can be a source of light to you, friend.
1. Try not to plead for a future you have not yet earned.
My idleness and my need for greatness allows me to evaluate my life again and again. I panic and predict a future I have yet to live and arrive at. It wasn’t really as bad as before. There were familiar, somber days when I would find myself spontaneously breaking down – I actually thought I was clinically depressed. I was consumed by fear; there were too much choices, and the uncertainty led me to places I promised I would not stay. Thankfully, through time, and with grace in my heart, I have arrived at a place in my life where I am more certain about things – one being Christ.
There is much I desire to do. There is a spirited vision so alive in me; 24 hours is simply not enough to course me through this path. The journey is long, intimidating, tedious yet (sometimes) dull, but it is my noble duty to discover and keep. My timeline will always be my own; I claim my detours, my mistakes, and my breakthroughs. Progress is progress no matter how small it may be.
Patience is my ally, it will constantly keep me grounded when I choose to stray, when I am too apathetic to try again, and when I can no longer see purpose. The things I love may bring me to dark, strange places; may I have enough courage to follow. I know for certain that there is light in the end.
Ultimately, the tug of what I (choose to) love and offer myself to, brings me closer to Christ. I may go towards different directions – I still know nothing about – but His faithfulness promises for all roads to always lead to Him.
2. Stop romanticizing things that hurt.
For years, my blog has been fueled by my reckless, ephemeral emotions – it is alive because of it. I selfishly embraced the havoc, the hurt, the mess and created tender, sad things to make the past tangible, to make my hurt mine, and to not be forgotten. Well, through time, I discovered that the more I dwelt in the comfortable ache, the more I resisted the option of possible, saving joy.
On my 23rd year, I made the (unconscious) choice to stop writing about the ‘beauty’ of my sadness. I think it is one of the bravest things I have done for myself. I realize that art need not be tragic. I do not make my, nor anyone else’s pain invaild; do honor your memories, but don’t stay there for too long. I still am a shamelessly emotional writer but I am learning that I can actually draw so much from my joy, my strength, and my peace.
Moreover, I always have the choice to dwell on my pain or I can redirect my thoughts towards praiseworthy things. When I take a moment to step away from my sadness, I see how much people really need me. Indeed, the sea is my sadness, and He taught me how to swim.
3. Intentionally make space (and time) for what you love.
If I published this entry weeks ago, it would probably have been a ‘pity party’ type of post – familiar to me and my readers. Since we’re being honest, I easily could have produced paragraph after paragraph stating how I can devote much time and energy to keep my craft alive yet not be assured that I am to love what I create. That still holds true but thank God I ...
I am terribly afraid of becoming a person who only goes places because it is good content and attention for my social media platforms.
There, I said it.
At the beginning of the year, I promised myself I would stop my senseless spending (on books, beauty products, clothing) and take my hard-earned money and start creating memories elsewhere. This is a resolution I fulfilled because of my intentional shopping ban and some little miracles from the Great Provider. Now, this is something new to me because I have never been too fond of uncomfortable experiences plus – being the youngest child amongst my siblings – having too much independence. My friends tell me this is a new side of me they never thought would be possible, and I have to agree. I have made too much excuses to forego the possibility of travel simply because of fear of the unknown. It scares me to think that I actually booked my very first flight without any family members to a foreign country (with just a friend), and I fly in April. I tell you, this newfound freedom is both completely life-changing and at the same time, paralyzing.
I see my flawlessly filtered Instagram feed championing this dynamic way of living: communing with nature, feeding on new experiences, and refusing dullness. It thrills me to see this new version of myself I only dreamed of becoming but it makes me question my motives again and again.
Months ago, I lost my phone during a short trip to Singapore. I believe, I knew I was heartbroken, not because a year’s worth of memories were stored in the device but because I was in uncharted territory, and no one would know about it. I could be experiencing a night out at the red light district tasting their street food for the very first time, taking in Little India’s tapestry of colors, and finding Jojo Moyes’ After You at the airport bookstore but why should it matter, right, when I cannot even capture it for the entire Instagram population to see?
I am starting to be so consumed with this new way of life; I feel like every single free day I have should be spent living up to this, should I say, commitment. I see my Instagram feed, and I am alarmed that I have not posted in two weeks because, having been educated by life, everything else cannot compare.
Is it just me or do you also feel the same way?