Love is the boldest stroke

“Is this really the boldest stroke you can make?” — The Half of It

It’s a line from a movie I didn’t expect I would resonate with and join my favorites list. I hear Ellie asking Aster and it becomes me asking myself, “Is this the boldest stroke I can make?”

I haven’t felt like I was making bold strokes until I learned to choose and embrace myself, until I grew comfortable in the silence and the stillness and found moments of peace, acceptance, and clarity I never even knew I was thirsting for. Moments of finding the courage to peel away the layers and reveal a truth or another part of me is also me painting one bold stroke after another. I’m nowhere near done yet with my painting and I still have a lot of space to cover. I have no idea what it would look like, but I am having fun creating it, building it stroke by stroke.

You wonder why you feel stuck or know you’re unhappy but never do anything to change it. You simply go on doing the things you do and stick with some people and relationships even when deep down you just know that who you are now doesn’t align with them anymore. You stay because they’re familiar and easy–they’re not challenging you to do the bloody inner work, to face your triggers and rise above them. Is it because you fear change? Is it because where you are is safe and accepted by the ones you feel you need approval from? But what is safe and what does external validation do for us, really? Is it even worth denying an essential part of yourself?

One of my bold strokes is finally deciding I’ve had enough of this and I won’t settle for safe and thumbsed up by everyone else but me. I learned you only grow when you learn to trust yourself and venture out of your comfort zone and into the wild unknown. When you realize the only approval and validation you need is from your authentic self, it’s a weight lifted off of your shoulders. It’s the taste of freedom and unity like that time the sea called out to me–waves lapping at my feet and without thinking, I just went into the water–my hair mimicking the waves and my dress getting soaked, a storm brewing on the horizon and I’ve never been happier. I want more of that and I am ready for it.

However my painting turns out to be, I hope it’s a beautiful mess of bold, colorful strokes speckled with jewels of neverending discoveries amidst the unknown.

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Third post in the series: Music / Film + Writing Heals πŸ’–

P.S. Ellie and Aster’s flirtation is a bold stroke for me and I like it. 😚

Wear it with pride

I used to think that wearing my heart on my sleeve was a weakness. And that to be a stronger person, to be taken more seriously, I needed to change. I had to be the opposite–keep everything in check. Keep the bubbliness and warmth from spilling over, don’t say what I really feel like saying at the exact moment I needed to. But no, it didn’t work. I was wearing a mask and felt the weight of being an imposter. I really am warm and bubbly and spontaneous. And I always feel better saying what I am intuitively guided to say to someone at the moment instead of waiting for the perfect time to say it, and not getting hung up on how the other person takes it. Our matrix perception of a “perfect time” is unreliable and even when there is perfect timing and you wait for it, the person might not be there to hear what you have to say when you think you’re ready. Better out than in.

Wearing love has only ever been my strength. That I could express and share my love and affection so freely is my natural state. Love is a super power, not a weakness.

Image credit: Aditya Saxena @ Unsplash

My Cherie Amour

Almost Famous (2000) | William sees Penny

Scene commentary: Kate Hudson as Penny Lane was golden in this scene. No doubt about it, in this film, she was Penny Lane. Patrick Fugit as William (the underage journalist/music-lover writer) translated all the awkwardness of telling the truth to someone you love even though it hurts. And we get a very powerful moment that transcends film and tugs at something inside us in reality.

William may look sweet and naΓ―ve, but he can see beyond the illusions of the Penny Lane persona. And that’s what scares her. To have someone who can be brutally honest with you even if it hurts you, who sees the real you and loves you for it can be unbearable for someone who desperately wants to stick with her illusions. Clearly, “Penny Lane” has a lot of growing up to do. William knows that and loves her enough to want her to shatter her own illusions. πŸ’–
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“You are worthy of the deepest kind of love.”

Since I first watched this film, I wasn’t immune to Penny Lane’s charms. Her beauty, sensuality, confidence, daring, and childlike wonder drew me in to her depths. Penny Lane was a mystery I wanted to get to the bottom of. She was a siren calling out to me with her song. At the end, I got to know her like every wounded sacred woman: looking for love in everyone and everything else but herself.

There is a Penny Lane in all of us at some point. She is also the inner child yearning to be heard, seen, and set free. She reminds me of my younger self who still had a long way to go before her own awakening and healing journey. She is in parts of me that I have yet to embrace and express. She is me every time I belt out to that Queen song, “I want to break free”.

Penny Lane is so real, raw, and vulnerable. I just want to love her. And as I write this, I realize that the deepest kind of love I will ever know and commit to is the love I find in myself. The highest form of unconditional love can only come from yourself, not from others. Unconditional love’s only requirement is to love the whole. And most especially, the parts you rejected and have kept hidden for years–parts that triggered chaos, pain, and shame in you. When you’re ready to fully open up to that kind of love, only then can you accept it from another and nurture it. Because no matter the depths someone else is capable of loving you, when you haven’t explored your own depths and learned to love yourself whole, you will always reject love that’s being offered to you freely.

I embrace all parts of me that I hid, especially those I was ashamed of–the bits that used to make me feel inferior, unworthy, unloved. I set myself free from all poisonous thoughts, limiting beliefs, and all the barriers to love I put up myself. I will not put up with them any longer. I reclaim my power that’s rooted in unconditional love of self. I am open to more opportunities for growth and abundance. I desire and attract the kind of love that matches and nurtures my own.

P.S. I recommend listening to the song, My Cherie Amour (the long soul version) by Stevie Wonder to accompany this piece.

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Second post in the series: Music / Film + Writing Heals πŸ’–

Almost Famous (2000) | Penny Lane / Lady Goodman

Lovely as a summer day, distant as the Milky Way

Almost Famous (2000) | Penny Lane overdoses

You know that part in Almost Famous when Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) overdoses on Quaaludes and William (Patrick Fugit) was just in time to call for medical help? And as she was vomiting over the hotel room bathtub, severely wasted and emotionally worn out, her legs and feet fidgeting against the tiled surface, William kept looking at her as if she was the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour plays in the background and that’s when it always hits me: this is one of the sweetest and subtly erotic scenes I have ever seen. But I just do not like it for that. It’s also for the dream that it gives me: that a person who truly loves you is someone who sees you at your worst and still finds you beautiful.

Written: 3 July 2012

P.S. I recommend listening to the song, My Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder to accompany this piece.

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First post in the series: Music / Film + Writing Heals πŸ’–

Oh Sweet Child O’ Mine

She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stare too long, I’d probably break down and cry

— Guns N’ Roses (1987) πŸ”«πŸŒΉ

Healing the inner child

When I was 8, I wrote my mother a letter asking her this question: “Why don’t you have time for me?”

It was a valid question but I never got a reply. Like most parents of my generation, mine both worked full-time. Both worked their way up the ladder at the government’s top financial institution. Their love language was primarily focused on being good providers for my sisters and I. We grew up mostly autonomous self-starters but lacking that validation that we are enough on our own. It’s funny because we all filled up that lack in the same ways–by pouring ourselves out through books, music, art, and our school lives. We were creatively and academically engaged, but we also became people-pleasers in varying self-destructive degrees.

I am grateful for all the hard work and sacrifices our parents have made for all of us to live a comfortable life. And I understand they both made the best choices they could at that time. Most of my shadow and healing work revolves around reclaiming my worth. That I never needed to be extraordinary, to compete, or to always remain on the ledge of pleasing and pleasant to be enough for them or for any other person I value in my life. I am enough. I am always enough. And I am loved. I am loved by those who fully embrace me as I am. I continue to heal.

Celebrating the inner child

They used to call me bungisngis. I was the kid you could pull laughter out from effortlessly. And if you did it in a string again and again, I ended up laughing in tears. I remember making Lola Ilagan (not blood-related, but special to me) happy with just my laughter. She told my mother, “Ay, ang tawa niya, ang sarap!”

I first encountered the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine” when I started reading my dad’s monthly Reader’s Digest subscription when I was 7. And yes, I do believe laughter + the gift of making someone laugh, smile, and see the brighter side of things is a balm to both the bodily nerves and the soul.

I want to continue celebrating and paying homage to this precious inner child trait by laughing like bungisngis little Lea more often and making others laugh and smile in my own ways. Corny or not. 🌽

Embodying the inner child

Whenever I channel my inner child, I always flash to this particular photo (see featured photo). It’s special for me. There wasn’t any ocassion for it, just a random Saturday or Sunday when my mom thought of finishing off the leftover film in her analog camera by taking photos of me and us in the garden.

This is the essence of little Lea. I feel like it doesn’t need further elaboration. You can look at it and feel what my soul–my inner child spirit is like. Eternally young and innocent, playful and mischievous, easy to love, trusting, and free as a bird. Always seeing and revealing the light in others. That’s how I hope to embody my inner child as she continues to be with me in this wonder-filled journey of a life. πŸ’—