It’s crazy to think that just one year ago, I was packing my bags and life into my car to drive down to Southern California all by myself to start a new life. I thought I’d only be gone for three months — to start an internship at an Asian American publication — but three quickly turned into six, and my “editorial internship” turned into production assistant/social media guru/photoshoot taker/celebrity wrangler and overall social writing wing-woman to help with Kore Asian Media’s 2018 Annual Issue (photoshoots, writing and all) and very chic and swanky end-of-the-year Unforgettable Gala.
We’re just young and reckless
If we wreck this — it’s fine
It was a lot. I was thrown into the fire without having even established my own roots in a new place. I tried to lean on people without even knowing who. Shallow company, unfair expectations, unexpected pressure and my own restlessness got the best of me. But, a lot has changed since then. I’ve gained so many new and unexpected skills to add to my hunger to learn (who knew I’d actively be shooting more videos and photos along with my core love of writing). But, I’ve also taken the time to realize, recognize and remember what it is I really want to be doing — and how to really be patient with getting there.
These past couple of months have felt like I’ve been “floating.” Days and weeks went by as gigs and events picked up quickly and fast, gone one day and again the next. I’ve been met with days of no sleep to days of too much sleep as I’ve worked on writing gigs, event gigs, concert gigs and endless hours spent at the local coffee shop to work, hang, enjoy simple company or my own headspace.
Too often I find that we try to keep ourselves busy because we’re just afraid of our own boredom. We’re scared of not knowing what to do, where to go, or having somewhere to be, but that boredom actually forces us to be truly present with ourselves. I’ve once read that boredom is the best catalyst for creativity, and we need to let ourselves be a little bored to let our minds wander and actually hear and process our own thoughts — we consume a little too much and are being fed too much that we can lose our own voices (and that’s always been one of my biggest fears).
I’ve actively taken the time to create more positive, healthy and solid relationships in my life, because I’ve realized just how important having a strong support system is (and how much my life has changed when I put a little more time and heart into others — and being careful of who you give your time to, as well — instead of looking after myself all the time). When my life used to be a bubble and I had childhood/high school/college friends all around around me, making friends as an adult who see, breathe, live, create and dream just like you is so, so important. I’ve met so many creatives, musicians, artists and dreamers who inspire and push me so much in just my one year of living in Los Angeles, that it made me realize just how crazy beautiful this town is, despite the mess and chaos that thrives in it. I’ll admit, I’m still trying to find my place and people and “girl tribe,” but I’m feeling pretty okay. I feel a lot more easy-going, less worried and am beginning to look outside just a little more.
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A very raw and genuine moment captured last night. ✨ Exactly one year ago this past weekend, I packed my life into my car and started a new life for myself from the Bay to LA. It’s crazy to think how much has changed since that moment, but from being one big worrywart, perfectionist and anxious mess to someone who is now feeling genuinely at peace with her life and journey… I’m feeling pretty genuinely excited. And I’m very grateful for all you who have been following and being my support system throughout this all. . #thankyou #aboutlastnight #candid #candidshot #rareshot #genuinemoment #raregenuinemoment #life #journey #gigstogetmeby #oneyearlater #outdoor #streets #nighttime #nightlife #concerts #music #writing #playing #girlwithherguitar #youngandreckless #portrait #rachelannc
June was absolutely lovely — and after a marathon of a run of events in May, I actively told myself I was going to wean back on events, give a little more time to myself and my heart, and only cover the shows and gigs I felt extra passionate about. And, it’s funny how even in those moments of weakness where I struggled to want to continue to do a gig, those gigs ended up making me a lot happier than I expected. It’s good company and moments where you remember why you do what you do and why you’re passionate about it. And the best part? People can feel that passion, and they’ll respond to it, feel it and remind you you’re doing something right (and it’ll warm your heart, ty Charlotte Lawrence).
I’m a big believer in vibes and feelings and am extremely self-aware to when something drains me instead of adds to me. When something or someone drains my energy instead of adding to my energy, excitement or passion, then I believe that’s a big sign of how our natural energies vibe and work together. One big thing I’ve learned is to listen to how you feel before and after you are with someone or doing something or attending some event, because that feeling tells you more about yourself and where your time, energy and efforts should be given, and what to avoid.
- I started off June reconnecting with one of my favorite current bands of all-time, UCI alums and group of kooky musicians, Milo Greene, who was also my first artist interview back in 2014, as they put on a special intimate night to preview and release their upcoming album Adult Contemporary. I spent time with my friend Ken getting lost, having endless conversations about music, our artistry, photography, getting rid of our comfort and honing in on our talents to push ourselves forward — and sometimes, it’s those conversations that are absolutely refreshing and invigorating.
- I then spent a weekend in Burbank helping a friend shoot a short film on the Warner Brothers lots, where I also was able to spend the following day at the studio tours, unleashing my inner #RossAndRachel / #BaristaRachel, meeting a new and unexpected friend, dining at Pine & Crane for the first time (and forever never worrying about parking or gas mileage), to then enjoying a long night under the stars at Griffith Park to see the one and only Ray LaMontagne at the beautiful Greek Theatre on assignment (to then which my phone died and I befriended the management at the Greek).
- I went on a “Cloverfield” hike with my friend Cyril, spending days catching up in a coffee shop and exploring some of my town’s best eats (and it honestly feels like a crazy unexpected blessing to feel like I’ve made a new BFF — ha yes, jokes on all you!). My car has had its lowest mileage in ages and I almost feel like I’ve forgotten how to drive, but I am so so happy and grateful to have dithched my car for a while to embrace my “girl on a budget.”
- I received an unexpected invite to an artist’s EP release show, Lily Kershaw, from the lovely people at Nettwerk, and not only did I fall in love with her music after just fifteen seconds of listening to her new single (that doesn’t happen to me a lot), but I had an unexpected night out with the gals at Nettwerk, talked Dia Frampton and was low-key very starstruck by being at the same show and room and bar as Juno Temple and Emma Roberts, since they’re all close friends.
- That late night turned into a whole day hanging and attending the Lumpia movie screening to help my friends/second family as #merchgirl — and nothing but jokes and laughs came from that night. I was reconnected with my Fil-Am friends, had many laughs and inside jokes that entire night with my friend Cyril because of the friends we saw, friends we met and my lovely pizza night and chat until 5am with Ivan.
- That next day, my friend Alex couldn’t find someone to give their Smokin’ Grooves Festival pass to, so I was treated to an unexpected day of lighthearted fun in Long Beach (despite all my late nights) with the best and refreshing company, learning from and being inspired by the ultimate “power couple,” and even met someone I follow on Instagram (LOL). Also, it is just very refreshing and surprising to see how well you can get along with someone and see eye-to-eye.
- The next was a lazy Father’s Day morning, to which I had some time to recuperate before my friend invited me over to dinner with their family (which meant a lot since I don’t have any family here during those kind of moments). We then watched a bargain-priced movie of Ocean’s 8 thanks to Sunday discounts and my old college rewards card (the moment Anne Hathaway’s character said, “I just want more girl friends” hit so close to home — LOL).
- As I then had some time to get back into a routine and take some time to get back into my running, health and cooking food at home, with endless days spent as a regular at local coffee shops working on overdue write-ups, it was nice to be easy on myself for awhile…
- And then Charlotte Lawrence came — a show I had bookmarked and requested months ago where, in that moment, I was ready to throw the towel in. “I can’t keep shooting shows and writing about other people,” I told myself. It was tiring me out and frankly, I’ve just been feeling ready to move onto the next chapter. Yet, as I managed to find my way there and my friend was able to come along (so gracious for the fun company), the anxiety of that shoot turned out to be a great wake-up call, reminding me not only of my love of her damn infectious pop music and moody sad songs, but why I love music in general (and perhaps making me realize and start to discover my own “sound,” as I’ve forever struggled to find what clicks for me, i.e. I’m a guitar girl who grew up on emo Warped Tour bands, but also loved Hilary Duff). But the cherry on top? When the artist, their management, and even others just publicize your article and shout it out, that just goes to show that maybe you’re not doing half bad, and you’re doing something right.
When you’re passionate about the music, it’s easy to do the work.
- Reunions with old college friends continued with a long night in Long Beach to celebrate a birthday brunch, to then hanging out over the water at the pier and sharing good conversation with my friend, feeling free, “young and reckless” with no shame at all — and that was a big moment for me.
For once, I felt like a kid again and it didn’t bother me. It felt weirdly, strangely and oddly right; and instead of thinking, feeling or behaving like I should be someone who has her life more put together at 25, I’ve reached that feeling of peace to embrace the messiness and the uncertainty of where I am in my life and journey — and be brave enough to share that (damn, a lot has changed in just one year).
I’m thankful for all the struggles: the times I leaned on others when I shouldn’t have; the times I put someone else before myself, to only realize how much love I have to give, not only to myself but to others (“I can feel you fading away from me”). I’ve learned and grown and changed a lot in one year, and I can feel it, despite it scaring me a little. I don’t feel as doe-eyed, young or “innocent” (for whatever reason, I have no idea why, but maybe because of adult responsibilities and more worries, haha). And that change may worry me sometimes, because I crave for my youth and adolescence all the time, but I’m finally living. Living in the best “broke” way I can, while dreaming, creating, finding my place, finding my friends, learning more about myself and the people around me, when I’m not spending a dime everywhere I go and feel my pockets sinking and sinking more and more everyday.
I feel alive and more like myself; I have worries but I’ve made peace with them; and I’m still hopeful. And I think that’s the most important thing.
One year later. And I’m rolling with it. My real direction only lies ahead of me now. (And damn how crazy is it to revisit this video of myself exactly one year ago when I moved.)
With love and honesty,
View my past video blogs below:
In A New Light 5/2018
You Give Me That Wicked Love 4/2018
Forever On The Road 2/2018
One Sky, Six Months 12/2017
Looking For You, Five Months In 11/2017
Quarter Month Crisis 10/2017
Third Month’s the Charm 9/2017
I Adjusted Month Two 8/2017
I Survived One Month 7/2017
One Week Out 6/2017