Through Thick and Thin

I’m sitting down in the same coffee shop I’ve been frequenting for the past month or two.

The workers recognize me. Some of them memorize my order. And I’m at my same corner. I like it here, only because it’s close, familiar and comfortable for me to work in (other places get stuffy, crowded, distracting).

But I’m still recalling moments in the past month where I was sitting right here, trying to work on something yet I was on the verge of tears.

“I know I’ve been a lot lately, I know I let things get to me
Like the other night when I was crying in the restaurant
‘Cause I don’t know who I’m supposed to be
And these thoughts keep creeping up on me
Like my life was nothing like what I was promised it was gonna be”

I don’t know how else to describe this past month except for emotional.

You ever get those moments where you feel like you try so hard or work so hard, try to make things work or put yourself into so much or invest yourself in things, only to feel empty by the end of it?

When it comes to anything, whenever we give, we need to have something to fill us back up — in love, work, a career, message, song or relationship. And when we aren’t being fulfilled in the way that makes us feel something is worth our time, we just feel drained, exhausted and empty.

I’ve been playing a huge mind game with myself in the past couple of months (I’d say once the fall season hit and summer ended, I felt a shift in myself and the universe to “get back to work” and think about how to make things work for my situation, and others #thinkabundancenotlack).

I’ve been conscious of how I spend my energy and time — especially when it comes to the shows and artists I decide to cover (#nofomo). I knew that at the end of the day, if I wasn’t feeling fully 100% and confident in myself, I’d be met with a half-ass Rachel showing up to work (and at the end of the day, I wanted to stop putting so much on myself or do things out of mere distraction).

For some time now, I’ve felt as if a part of myself has died. I can’t recall the last time I felt like I genuinely laughed. I’m not fun company. I don’t feel like my best self. And I want to fix that.

Going out’s been tough, too. I can’t brave a straight face and when I do go out and preoccupy my mind with people, events and spend endless days wandering or running around the park, I come home to my bed at night only to cave. I’d cry myself to sleep and then hate myself for it, and have faith that tomorrow’s a new day.

…and that’s where my mind games kept coming in. I’d recognize my strong emotions and try to fully honor and feel them out, let myself go through the motions to heal (listening to sad songs is comforting but doesn’t help lol). And then I’d try to talk myself up and look at things from a healthier, more productive perspective — to surround myself with positive thinking, because that thinking will only become reality.

I can be hard on myself because, what can I say: I’m Asian, I’m the only girl, I’m the youngest in my family, I grew up with a single mom, I’m the only one who left home, my mom probably doesn’t expect as much of my brothers as she does of me — the girl who my high school teacher once said, “I hope my daughter grows up to be like you” — or maybe I just do it to myself.

So I’ve been learning to let go more: to trust, to let things happen, to let myself find myself, to be patient with myself, to let things fall into place, do good work, be passionate, keep my light and always love myself, first and foremost.

Things can get heavy and at the end of the day, we all just want someone to run to, turn to, cry to or tell us we’ll be alright — platonic or not — and more often than not, I’ve been having to do that to myself lately (but ty to you who know who you are who I’ve been able to lean on).

I’ve had some happy moments this month that helped me push through, too:

  • that random Opening Ceremony DJ gig I helped on for KEB Management, where I discovered my newfound love and potential for DJing (lol);
  • that Amy Shark show and writeup that became the soundtrack for my month;
  • where I spent less than $4 a week on food for some reason because of all the music events, nights being treated out by friends, catered food events, plays and film premieres where #baon became my best friend;
  • that time I tried to get back to my car but the #homelessapocalypse came out;
  • when I decided my emotions were killing me and I wanted to see the empowering, inspiring woman and poet that is Rupi Kaur, only to be gifted two tickets from a stranger and a reawakened sense of self-love (because hell, everything I’m feeling all other women are feeling or have felt, too);
  • my many days running and stretching at the park, getting my healthy dose of Vitamin D and #rundorphins;
  • the feeling I couldn’t even pick up my guitar or writing again because my emotions disabled me, only to pick it up again and feel like myself again;
  • the moment my fear to share my vulnerabilities again came out, only to trust, bare my heart and soul, and fight with myself all over again (and spend a whole morning crying to Katelyn Tarver’s “Don’t Let It Change You,” because that song uncannily spoke out everything I was/am feeling and going through);
  • the times my loneliness crept up and I felt honored to be a part of the KEB Management family and share some nice moments with new friends;
  • the free food all day as press from Eat Play Move, indulging in my best Filipino foodie with friends in the community (and enjoy a bomb street festival turned block party with some inspiring female friends);
  • the random film gig turned Halloween party I turned into #grapejam;
  • seeing a special screening of Unlovable by Charlene DeGuzman with friends, about a sex-and-love addicted woman who finds intimacy through playing music with a reclusive man (hits close to home, no?);
  • my one Hawaiian friend who always sees the light in me, gets through to me and sees the bigger picture and whole point of our existence (to see that life is so much more than ourselves) and says I have a true Hawaiian in me;
  • and then, of course, the opportunity to see and cover LANY, a band who had stolen my heart and always overcomes me with emotions (and inspired the song behind my vlog this month).

These are the moments I tell myself to focus on — the moments of gratitude and those I can get out of my own head and into the world and exist as part of this world (and hell, just be myself).

“As artists — a musician or actor — we are just a vessel,” my dear friend said to me. “Acting or playing music isn’t hard. It comes to us and through us and we are just the vessel this is coming through.”

“Other people feel a lack of love because they aren’t able to channel what they love the way we are able to,” he continued.

“There’s no such thing as hate. Only a lack of love.”

And it’s true: I must honor my artist, my creativity, my feelings, and let them be expressed through my medium. But I also cannot and will not be hard on myself.

So I’ve been spending a lot more time with myself to get myself back to a place of love, peace and into my own flow (outside of the distractions, fomo and inclinations to be a “press mule” again, when that only makes me feel like I’m living my life watching others instead of living my own story).

If I will say one last thing for this month, it is: never neglect the feelings in your heart, mind and soul. They will only creep back up if you (or I) don’t deal with them head on. But don’t let them disable you, either. Don’t wallow (but wallow for your art if you have to lol). Break those bad habits, turn yourself around, and fight for what you love.

I’m human. I’m emotional. I have a big heart and big dreams and am almost “too smart” for my own good (which is ego/perfectionism and I must get rid of it; I often don’t know where to channel things or how to do things to have a business that grows, or even what direction I want to go to create content that “makes sense”; but it’s all nonsense in the end and I shouldn’t focus on that).

Just breathe. I’m ready to move forward.

With that, I am ready to let this all go and will leave you with this message from Rupi Kaur that hits oh so close to home:

With love and honesty,


View my past video blogs below:
The Last Hurrah 9/2018
Breaking Down to Break Through 9/2018
You Get What You Give 8/2018
Summer Daze 8/2018
Back To You and Hometown Takeaways 7/2018
Young, Reckless and Loving It 6/2018
In A New Light 5/2018
Wandering 5/2018
You Give Me That Wicked Love 4/2018
Rediscovered 3/2018
Twentyfive 3/9/2018
Forever On The Road 2/2018
Beginnings 1/2018
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


17 responses to “Through Thick and Thin

  1. Your monthly highlight vlogs have great clip edits and this latest one was no different… except for one part that had my chest cave for a second. Of course, whatever it was was a temporary moment, and I was then genuinely curious at what you were saying (but it probably wasn’t for your blog/vlog viewers), but you really were crying and put that out there. You are one amazing person for that and being so consciously aware of your feelings and associated dilemmas.

    I’m pretty sure this kind of visibility of your non-event moments reminds people of the realities behind social media, no matter intentional or not, and it’s actually really brave. I hope you’re feeling better about things. You’ve always been a ball of positive energy even with certain negative moments arising. I hope to see November bring more smiles and laughs to your face. Be well in your continued pursuit of happiness 🙏💛✨

  2. Hi Rachel,

    I read Through Thick and Thin and spent the last hour reflecting on this one because I totally related with what you wrote “a part of me has died” and “I don’t feel like my best self.” I wish I could articulate more on how much of what you wrote meant but for now just know that I love and respect what you just shared. You are an amazingly talented and brave person. Also, thanks for sharing “Don’t let it change you.” I needed to hear that! I hope November brings more joy in your journey!

    -Someone inspired by your love and honesty

  3. thank you for sharing and being so vulnerable in your post. i cant imagine what you go through but i was once there this year … i never thought i’d get out of that place but i did. and it’s been a great journey after getting myself out of the area of feeling hopelessness.

    know that you are strong and loved. smile more and laugh. be free and continue to be who you are deep down inside rachel. never lose sight of that. ❤️

  4. You are selling yourself short. Play guitar in a band or duo. You can still cover bands on the side. You’ve got the connections, girl.

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