As I was having a conversation with one of my old high school friends, he told me, “That’s weird imagining you leading workshops since you were always so quiet and reserved.”
Thinking of how much in my life has changed within the past 2 years in college, I, in a way, feel it safe to say that I’ve grown a lot. I can feel myself more independent, secure, and sure of myself–but, at the same time, I realize my personal goals aren’t even remotely close to where I would wish them to be. When I first came to college, my friend told me, “High school is where you find yourself. College is where you define yourself.” And, looking back at these past 2 years, I can see how I have made a name for myself.
I don’t believe much of myself has changed while I’ve been in college–I still find myself having the same interests, way of reaching out to others, or way of speaking or dressing… If anything, I’ve just grown more aware. I’ve become more aware of my place and position in this world, and have solidified the values in my heart that I know to be true. It’s true: College tests you. And whether you stay humble throughout it and go with the changes is all up to you.
2/21/2013: A bench in Aldrich Park, Irvine, CA
High school was the time I realized the things I felt most passionate about–it was those few things that helped me feel less alone, cured my “teenage angst”, and made me feel most comfortable just being me. I was most “in-my-element” when I was able to convey my own heart through playing guitar and music. My emotional nature and key intuition was felt when I wrote–and a teacher saw and fostered that in me. Filipino cultural dancing was a testament to my family and how I grew up, as it was an art form that encapsulates the beauty of my culture (and to add, it is the reason my family grew closer together, sharing our gifts and talents to be apart of a bigger family and mission in our small-town suburban community).
Being so soft-spoken all my life, I find that it stemmed from a want to please and put others before myself. When my brothers’ friends would always tell me how “wise” or “years-before-my-age” I was on my blog in the 6th-grade, I found that my quietude wasn’t because I never had anything to say–rather, I find I’ve always had so much to say, holding my own opinion on things no matter how open I was to hearing everyone out. I just hated asking for favors or help. I found comfort in staying humble, letting others have their chance to speak and shine (for I knew how hard it could be to speak up and have people listen to you).
2/18/2013: Youtube coverin’ “Tusk” (because I love music and I love good music more)
Everything in my life has always been for a reason. Everything I do always stems from a passion. Playing music is the one thing in my life I feel I can be completely selfish about (since I too easily look for the good and put others before myself) but still be able to speak upon my own views and thoughts to share good music, my knowledge and own experiences with others. Writing is the voice I first found when I was unable to speak up or clarify my thoughts when speaking wasn’t my friend. Dancing is my way of bringing myself back to home to realize my own identity, not only as a Filipina-American in today’s society, but also as someone who represents her family, her faith, her values, and her culture.
Being so involved in Kababayan @ UCI has really helped me become more aware of being a Filipina-American in today’s world. With the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made who all have spoken light to me on our people’s history and struggles and successes, it all pushes me and makes me want to do what I do even more. To push for what I do to make Filipin@s more visible in today’s society–we have such a rich and vibrant culture, and our talents can be seen everywhere! Yet, it’s also ridiculous how we can be the #1 Asian race in California, but remain hidden to the public’s eye at the same time. It is through music and writing and dance where I preserve my culture, my faith, and my overall self-hood, and hope to share it with mainstream America.
12/2011: Dancing “Tutup” with KARIKTAN Dance Company
Yes, I am passionate about my guitar-playing because there just aren’t enough women guitarists out there in the world who really take this instrument seriously… And, I find that there’s a sense of activism in what I do. I push for attention. I push for notice. I push for fairness. And I push for literate minds. There’s a particular beauty of wonderful instrumentation that can be done–but yet, we like our poster boys and easy-radio because it’s like chewing candy–but too much of it can be bad. It’s important to bring everything back to the worldly view, and what our different focuses in life are. Fighting against it–for what you want and believe–is important before it becomes too late.
As I am the quiet person I’ve always been, I’ve always found strength in the humility and genuineness of things. I’m not for taking over the world, but I’d like to make a difference–a symbol for good people, for faith, for love, for family, for culture, for the oppressed, for women, for music, for life, for the underrepresented girl guitarists and Filipin@s today… for whatever it is my life is and makes itself up to be. For the girl who was always pushed aside, never spoke up, yet found attention given through her just being her… I’d want that attention to mean something.