The fears, anxieties, worries and emotions that have come up for me in the past week have been heavy, but enlightening. Perhaps these were things that have bothered me for awhile, lingered in the back of my head and haven’t been fully addressed or realized. I guess as you approach a new age and season, things begin to unearth — in a good way.

In the past few months, I’ve been on some sort of personal “soul searching” journey. What began as utter bliss from the energy of the new year through reigniting my love for music, writing, and my free time, turned into unpacking the thoughts and ideas I hadn’t ruminated over before. The more I spent time with and met myself, I began to see and feel parts of me changing.

“I feel like there’s a part of me that’s changing. That internal pull of who you were vs. who you’re becoming. I had a reading recently that told me the past decade of my life has been like sleepwalking — I followed my intuition, curiosities, was deeply inspired, but it was a lot of comings and goings. I experienced a lot, seen a lot, and accomplished much more than I often give myself credit for. Now I am coming into my own.”

My heart knows what it wants —
I’m just living in the space between.

I don’t really like the attention around birthdays, but it’s really the people around us who love and support and shower us in their love that really means the most.

I can get really sappy and emotional when I think of the bonds and moments I’ve shared through these trying times with the people around me. We are, after all, the people we spend the most time around, and I’m just so blessed that that love is reciprocated — the good vibes, energetic connections, genuine love and heartfelt conversations that fill me up so much. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This 29th, I was showered with so much love and generosity — almost too much — that it was both heartwarming and overwhelming. After my episode of The Bachelorette kind of birth night (a memorable story for another time lol 🌹), I realized a part of me still feels unhappy with my life and the ways I’ve been living it — the relationships that have been “strung along” that don’t add to me, the ways I’ve been giving so much of myself, only to neglect my own deepest dreams and desires, and the old habits and patterns that just don’t cut it for me anymore.

My birth week was a lot. I went to my first SoCal winery with Alex and his family that Sunday — a trip that made me feel like a “normal person” and enjoy a little getaway out of LA. It made me feel a part of a family when I don’t have any out here and enjoy cake and celebrate a birthday. My weekly visits to my friends’ cafes being spoiled by coffee and pastries from Zac and Brian have filled me up and give me a feeling of home (with all my history spent working in cafes). I shared a vegan gratitude dinner with Sherome, talking music, creating work, and openly reciting “I am Cozy” and “I am Blessed” to our waiter. I spent a day wandering Chinatown, which felt like a reunion in my “old hood” having worked there for up to two years, enjoying the sun, jackfruit and forward enlightened movement with Beckham. I woke up to a birthday photoshoot that Wednesday morning with Eddie, to a customized March 9th birthdate candle, book and flowers from Zac, a Miley vinyl from Kirby, books and mermaids from Kaitlyn, makeup and laughs from Angela, a missed Kacey Musgraves tour poster from Alex, the most orgasmic matcha crepe cake I could ever consume 🍵, good vibes from my homies Kyle and Rendra, Ivan coming in hot with pitchers, and a surprise flower delivery and card from Ru.

I’m grateful to what all these people have given and added to my life, and they were all there for a reason, touching my life in their own unique ways. I have a lot of love surrounding me, and for that I should be and am grateful. And, as a girl, I’m flattered.

“Your energy, Rachel’s energy, whether pheromones or what, is something that a lot of people want to be around. I’m very fortunate to be cohabiting with that precious energy. We’ve always known about it and have obviously joked about it, but I guess none of us realized that it was depleting your energy from your own self!”

Post-birthday, a lot came up for me. Maybe I was tired and drained from weeks of constant events, birthdays, outings, being there for others, getting sick for two weeks, and feeling in the biggest funk from it all. I spent that Friday night with cake and karaoke at Eddie’s with lots of sake to no effect. I had a massive anxiety attack in the middle of the night afterwards, spiraling and spiraling, which kept me up all night until the next morning. Saturday turned into “Sadderday” with all these heavy, emo realizations, unpacking with Kirby, walking around the reservoir on the phone with Angela who just felt sad for me as I vented my stresses and frustrations from unwanted attention, unintentionally hurting people and hurting the ones I love through seeing this unwanted attention, to overthinking my relationships, catching feels, and the jealous energies I felt. I started to overthink my own feelings and source of anxiety from being lost and caught up in the storm/spiral of my friends’ personal worlds, because I care so deeply and tend to let others’ ways of life become my own. I started to rethink the dynamic of my relationships — and that scared the hell out of me.

The relationships in my life take so much of my time and energy. Not everyone deserves to be in my light and space. I am not here for everyone, and I must be there and show up for myself, first and foremost.

“Happy birthday, Rachel!! I’m seriously inspired by your introspection and commitment to your creativity + leveling up your (already stunning) artistic skills. I hope this year of life is your favorite one yet.”

The sweet messages and texts from long lost friends, new friends, old friends, regulars, online friends and beyond, have been fun and nice. It’s really special when you can connect with people who flow and operate from the same wavelength as you. There’s an energetic pull and understanding that draws you two together, and I believe in that energy immensely.

“Old soul waiting my turn
I know a few things but I’ve still got a lot to learn”

As I sit here on this rooftop gazing at the sunset from my balcony, finally having a moment to myself from the hurricane of outings and events, I finally find a moment of peace, quiet, and true alone time. The cool wind blows from the warm day that subsides, as hues of purple and pink, lavender smoke and orange rays in the sky soothe… It’s rejuvenating and enlightening, comforting to get back into my own skin. To see this world and this city as I inhabit it, bells chiming from the house down the street in the distance and leaves rustling on the pavement.

How did I get here? I have absolutely no fucking idea. But I’m grateful. This is my home. The home I have finally created and made for myself. And how fucking beautiful is this?

29. It feels appropriate. I first arrived in this city when I was just shy of 24, and the amount of growth and self-discovery since then is wild to think about. With all that was purged out of me this birthday season, I feel like I shed this old layer of myself that hasn’t been working and have come anew, finally tapping into the truths I’ve known inside of me all alone.

I am a sensual, intuitive, deep-feeling soul who feels very deeply and feels very deeply with the world and the people around her. I listen, I pay attention and I hold space, because I know what it feels like to so desperately seek and crave that.

I have so much love to give and offer, even that of which I have for myself — the confidence and energy and optimism and hope I carry myself with that people want to be a part of. I am blessed, and have so much to share and give to the world. May I have the courage to do so.

“Since getting to know you, you’ve taught me to become a better person, and that in itself says so much about what a truly amazing friend and overall human being you are. It’s no wonder so many gravitate towards you! I hope and pray that you continue shining, smiling, and sharing your light in a world that so desperately needs it. Let this serve as a reminder of how much you truly deserve all this universe has to offer. How you’ve touched others, and will continue to positively influence, impact, and inspire those around you all your life. How precious your talents, your thoughts, your energy, your music, your whole being is to all of us, and how your inner and outer beauty is a never ending fountain to be enjoyed by all who have the pleasure and privilege of meeting you.”

As I wrote at the beginning of this year: “For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m finally leaning into myself. All the grind I’ve experienced these past years — navigating a new city, working endlessly with different jobs, learning to budget and support myself independently, lifting up my workplace team morale, dealing with different personalities while still holding my own and creating and holding space for loved ones, while staying emotionally balanced and creatively active — has been a lot. I find that I’ve been giving so much of myself to others for so long, that I haven’t really taken that chance to bet on myself. These ‘coming into my own’ experiences inform my art, my writing, my music and movement throughout this world. And it’s time I take my time back and lean in.”

“You are an amazingly stellar woman and in so many ways you still have one of the biggest hearts I know. It shows in the thoughtful things you talk about during conversations or in the positive words when you write articles or post. A whole lot of what you say or even play just feels so right for the world to hear. It’s all incredibly beautiful to witness and I’m convinced it’s going to lead to something amazing for you down the road. I’m hella rooting for you.”

“Identity is fluid, which means we grow and we change. That growth and change are what crafts our unique stories. And those stories are our super powers.”

Sinead Bovell
I wrote the entry below in my journal back in January of this year.

I never knew what it meant to live the “artist life.” Rather, I never know what it looked like.

And perhaps all my years of diving into it, writing about it, exploring it, allowed me to get a sense of it — to live vicariously. But after all that hunting, I had to grow up.

Little did I know I slowly turned into one myself, because I was one all along.

I’ve learned that the power of mindset is everything. What you believe to be true is true. You have to wholly believe in yourself 100% fully and confidently that you are an artist. You are musician. You are a writer. You are a healer.

Whenever any fear or doubt crept into my mind, I knew something was getting in the way. I knew I needed excuses or permission or validation to believe this life was meant for me. When you’re actively seeking it, you’re not really living it.

And when I take a step back now, I see it for all it is. I see these years as how they were meant to happen — and that’s the beauty of growing up. Your twenties.

I’ve always had faith in the growing up. I knew as long as I was following what my heart wanted, I’d be led the right way.

I feel it in my heart more than ever the time to fully dive in and lean into myself… It’s almost like after you’ve gone through it all — the experiences, the growth, the love and heartbreak, all while trying to figure it all out on your own as a girl who just had this curiosity and followed it with no guidance or mentor which she had so sought in the ones around her, it took her a bit of growing up to fully realize I am here.

It’s divine timing. Trusting the timing of your life. How you need those years of confusion and growth and trials and errors to give you a little backbone to better navigate the next to come. When you go through something once, you’ll have a different lens the next time around.

I’m 28 now. Almost 29. I’ve pushed away love for most of my life, because I was really just looking for it in myself. That love guided me all the way through to where I’m at now. And it’s been one hell of a ride.

But I’ve still got so much more to come. And that’s the fun part.

Life is so short, but we’ve got so much more of it to do all that we’ve ever wanted to do.

Experiences upon experiences, to now having fun with it all with all that I’ve learned, as an artist, a human, a musician, a writer, a seeker, a wanderer, a health conscious weirdo hippie… It’s all a part of it. Just live in it, because you love it so damn much.

With love and honesty,



5 responses to “Twentynine

  1. Hi Rachel!

    It’s been awhile –
    I still follow your incredible blog and REALLY look forward to all your poignant self-reflection posts. Your latest one on turning 29 was especially beautiful, as I could relate to every single part – and I’m here to tell you that anxiety attacks, uncertainty, imposter syndrome, etc. are things that many have dealt with (sadly), but the beauty is in how you become stronger from those experiences. What matters is exactly what you pinpointed (and you’ve always written this all along)- it’s about surrounding yourself with the right people, and knowing which relationships truly nurture and support you rather than take away your energy. Quality over quantity for sure ✨

    You’ve always been wise beyond your years (and I know age is just a number – it all blurs the older we get) – but if you ever need anyone to listen to you rather than someone speaking at/to you, please know you can always come to me. This may seem really strange considering how we’re not close contacts, but I’ve found it quite helpful to have someone who is able to help me in my own personal/professional development who isn’t in my friend circle. If I can be that one faraway contact for you, I’m happy to✨ I work with a speaking/mindset coach almost every week who really helps me set boundaries and value my own worth, and I see so much strength and ambition in you – but I don’t want you working yourself to the core and burning out more than you already have (iykwim), because I’ve been there as well and it’s such a hard cycle to break.

    Definitely not trying to guilt you into reaching out, either! Would just love you to know that, as a fellow AAPI woman in the workforce also trying to navigate this thing called life, it’s more important than ever to protect your solitude just as much as you give your time and love to others (I understand how hard it is when you give and give so much to others but then feel so internally drained).

    I’m here for you if you ever need someone to chat to/someone to listen – but please don’t feel obligated, once again! 🙂 Just thought I’d reach out, since everything you wrote about truly resonated. Life really is about divine timing – and a little bit of manifestation never hurt, either 😇

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