“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”Joseph Campbell
Finding who she is meant to be
I’ve always had a special connection to music, the melody, the lyrics, and relating it to something going on in my life. Growing up, I used to have song lyrics taped to my desk, which until this day, my dad has kept in his garage so my kids could also grow up with knowing their mom in a relatable way. Through music, I’ve been able to go through the most challenging of moments and also feel alive and free in my most joyous moments.
This time last year, I was starting to settle into my body and spirit as a woman. I had just come from a retreat in Tulum feeling refreshed and ready to take on that next year of life. I had much to look forward to at that moment in time: my previous partner and I were building and designing a home for our future family, while I was really enjoying my new role at Google and settling into my Bay Area routine.
The next thing I knew, my world experienced a tornado and I was thrown into a reality that I never expected to happen: a separation and subsequent divorce. As I accepted this reality in ending our marriage, I spent a lot of time singing with so much emotion and released tears of sadness. It was the end of a deep relationship, mourning for the loss of the plans I had for us, and also so scared for what’s to come. In-between sessions with my therapist, I had a lot of anxious thoughts. How would people now perceive me? Would I get labeled? How will I get through this time of my life alone, single, and without strong roots in a new city? These thoughts were so painful and scary, so I dealt with them in the best way I knew how…I sang. I sang “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles and I cried in my living room after packing boxes that would be transferred to my San Francisco studio that weekend.
A fresh start
It took a community of people from all over the world to help me transition into this new life. I am particularly grateful for the 4 amazing humans who helped me move into my SF apartment and my dog Wonton, who I kept as my fur baby and dearest everyday companion. As I started to share my new reality with my family and closest friends, I started to feel more ready to share openly with people outside of my core circles.
I let my coworkers into my new adjustment, and they were an amazing group to be surrounded by during a bulk of my week. I am very grateful to call them my friends. I also let my relatives know of this change and I am grateful for their support as I went through this life change. I exposed myself to events that I thought would be a particularly hard time, like my friend’s wedding in May, where I was surprisingly okay and actually inspired by his parents in finding love again. I surrounded myself around my best friends and family those following months, traveling across the US and to the Philippines to reconnect to my roots and discover who this new version of me was.
When I felt like I was ready to date, I met really great men who enjoyed and appreciated my company. For those discouraged about dating: don’t waste your precious time with people who don’t align with your values and interests. Find your best self and everything else will come together in due time. Even though I wasn’t looking for anything serious, I wanted to ensure that those I would go on dates with was worthy of my time and because of this, they really got to genuinely know me. They also valued my transparency in my dating goals, which was to figure out who I wanted to date in the first place, haha. This was a really fun period during this critical time in my life!
What I am really proud of during this time, is that I really made an effort to be present and self-aware. I spent a lot of time doing the things I loved, which included A LOT of hours outside. I bought an awesome gravel bike and would go to Marin for fresh air, I would ride my e-bike to work three times a week, I would check out fitness studios in SF, I would go on long walks in random parks with Wonton, I would listen to a lot of books and podcasts, I would go on hikes, I went to music festivals, and I would spend 5 hours of my Saturday morning teaching Pilates in Palo Alto. I was feeling my best, looked my best, and it felt so damn good. I was getting into a rhythm with myself and I was building the strongest relationship with this version of me. I was in SUPERBLOOM (“Superbloom” by MisterWives)!
The end of an amazing summer and the beginning of a new love
I will look back very fondly at last summer, because it was a season of discovery, so much magic, and so much acceptance of what is. I did a lot of work to ensure that I felt safe, that I felt grounded, and that I truly believed that I was exactly where I need and was meant to be. I meditated daily and spent a lot of time asking myself if I was fully aware of my thoughts, emotions, and feelings as I processed such a huge life change. Those months following my separation and divorce created the stable foundation that I know I will carry with me for the rest of my life. In reflecting in this last year, I am most proud of the work I put in to better myself, to give myself space, and to allow all of the emotions to arrive at my feet.
I had open eyes, kept an open mind, and seriously, out of nothing, stars aligned (“Naama” by Sultan + Shepard). This is truly when I started to believe in magic, haha. The magic that was within me sprinkled on old friendships I strengthened, new friendships I built, and exploded into a new love that developed into a deep relationship that I want to nurture forever (“Got 2 Believe In Magic” by Rico Yan & Claudine Barretto).
Last fall, I explored this new relationship very thoroughly, while simultaneously adjusting to developing a non-romantic relationship with my ex. Out of all that we’ve been through….I know we’re cool (“Cool” by Gwen Stefani). I am very grateful to be great friends after going through a complex time in our lives and I look back at our time very fondly. We continue to support each other as we explore new avenues of our lives and this is also a lifelong relationship I want to nurture.
And for my new love: I hesitantly fell in love with Dylan, knowing that I wasn’t ready to open up romantically…but goddamn you got me in love again (“Love Again” by Dua Lipa). Because of his friendship, patience, and love, I opened up in ways I never thought I would in a short amount of time. My soul trusted his care and I am so grateful to Dylan in giving me the space to adjust and his understanding of my need to feel grounded in my new life. Even though we are separated by 5,000 miles, we continue to go great lengths for each other and in ensuring that our relationship is tenderly cared for. As we close out on this winter, what I will remember the most is how strong of a bond we’ve built with each other, our families, and our friends. So proud of us, mahal ko! To my moon and my star, thank you for taking care of my heart and soul and giving me everything you’ve got. Let’s continue this wild love of ours. As you’ve said, we have magic in our hands. Your unconditional love takes me to paradise & you make my life soooooo sweet (“I Belong To You” by Lenny Kravitz).
From 28 and feeling great to 29 and feeling fiiiiiine
Honestly, when I turned 28 last year, I felt like I was in my early 30s, as I was preparing for a totally different stage of life and having accomplished so much while also experiencing so many life challenges at a young age. The silver lining in my mom dying when I was 23 is that it forced me to rethink many of life’s moments that feel significant, that are actually pretty insignificant. It forced me to look at the bigger picture, to look at the glass half full, and to ask myself the hard questions we sometimes avoid because we don’t like the answers. These challenges make us better humans and I am grateful to my parents, mentors, and friends in guiding me and am particularly thankful in continuing to build that spiritual relationship with my late mother.
As I take breaths and experience my 29th year of life, I promise to continue living my life fully, to be ever-present, and to appreciate what is. I am ready to continue riding the wave, not trying to deny it or fight it and just roll with it (“Feeling Free” by LEISURE). In a few days, I’ll be leaving for an amazing three-week trip with my best friends exploring Portugal, Italy, and showing them the Netherlands from mine and Dylan’s eyes. What a gift it is to be see and experience the world while having work flexibility and to have such special friends that light your fire.
So to those who have followed my rollercoaster JOURNEY (wow!): I appreciate you. Thank you for your love, your support, and your time. I feel amazing in my own skin, in my experience thus far as a woman in her own home, and am trusting the process during our limited time on earth. Let’s keep this energy goingggggg, fam!