When I was 6 years old, I would always look at my mom’s photo albums and admire the pictures she took. It was full of memories; friendships that bloomed, fun birthday celebrations, Disneyland, her first car, people dancing on stage, and photos at the airport when she was coming home from Japan holding her hair back. I also loved watching the VHS videotapes we had. Significant moments were captured beautifully. My favorite video was the baptism of my little sister Maiko. There I was, around 3 years old, pulling my pigtails and roaming around our new house in Santa Rosa, Laguna. My cousins, Ate Rachel and Ate Kathy were feeding me. There were different kinds of food on the table. Everyone seemed happy. The little me thought it was amazing that the videos were stored in those rectangular devices forever. It felt like I have a time machine in the comfort of my own home.
As a family, we traveled a lot back then. My mom’s boyfriend at that time, Luis Carlos, loved taking videos wherever we went. We had a video collection of each destination we traveled to. Then, there was me again, watching in our living room, playing the videos back and forth, trying to relive the experience.
Mom gave me my first digital camera when I was in 4th grade. Guess what kind of video I recorded? It was an episode from Kaleido Star, a Japanese anime series about a girl named Sora who went to the U.S to fulfill her dream of performing at the famous circus; Kaleido Stage. To be able to take a video of a particular scene from that anime made me ecstatic. I saved the moment and could rewatch it whenever I want to.
It wasn’t really a surprise that I took pictures and videos whenever I could. I am a very sentimental person. I love reserving memories. Capturing them is like having a certain moment frozen in time. Who would have thought that technology could provide us with an outlet where we can share our memories, and passion even?
I started Youtube when I was 14 years old. I was in Tokyo back then, studying in Junior Highschool. It was around 2009, in the little room that I was sharing with my cousin, Ate Soleil. I was watching Shane Dawson’s comedy videos where he was wearing different kinds of wigs and playing all the characters by himself. I got inspired to start my own channel as well. I recorded a video of me talking in front of the camera, and used Imovie to edit the whole video. It was my first time. Took me a day to finish the entire editing process. I felt proud, happy,… accomplished even. I wanted to do it for fun. I didn’t have any idea you could actually make money from the advertisements. Then I stopped. I wasn’t confident enough to show my face; it made me cringe watching myself talk in front of the camera. I just stopped. Little did I know that my heart knew it was what I really wanted to do.
I came back to the Philippines shortly afterward and forgot about my desire to be a Youtuber. Funny enough at 16 years old, I started blogging on Blogger, Tumblr, and Hubpages. It wasn’t really a surprise that I like writing. When I was studying in Canossa (a private Catholic school in the Philippines) during my elementary years, I used to participate in various speaking and essay contests every year. My heart was filled with happiness each time I won. It was where I belonged.
The warm welcome I received from the people in Hubpages means a lot to me. I may have taken a long break on blogging but because of this wonderful experience, I never stopped believing that someday, I will continue to do what I love the most.
Special thanks to Faybe Bay for recommending me to the community and welcoming me with open arms. You’re the BEST. ❤️
I wasn’t able to go to class due to some family problems so I had to become independent at 17 years old. I chose to go to Alternative Learning System (ALS) where I attended a few classes and took a national exam to accelerate my studies. I graduated high school with flying colors, entered the corporate world, and became a call center agent/ customer service representative at one of the most famous BPO companies in the world; Teleperformance. I worked for a Telecommunications company based in Canada. At first, it was confusing as I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Then slowly, it just made sense and I started enjoying helping customers figure out their bills. I offered alternative options to lower the cost and helped them avoid expensive mobile data charges. Their laughs, gratitude, and satisfaction made my days complete.
A year has passed by quickly. At this point, I was already thinking if I should continue working in the Philippines or go to Japan instead. I heard the news they were hiring for a new position. They needed a new trainer to teach the new employees about the company, what to expect, how to handle customers, and navigate the tools used to handle the account.
I wanted to apply for that position. “I would love to be promoted and guide the new employees on their journey.” I thought. If I became a trainer, I could also use the extra money to attend college and be a working student. However, I was not qualified as they needed someone who has a Bachelor’s Degree. The choice I needed to make was clear. I have to go back to Japan to explore more opportunities.
I started watching vlogs of people who are living in Japan. This has sparked my interest to start Youtube again. I wanted to explore places, introduce them to people and have my own community online. I decided to pursue my long-lost passion when I return to Tokyo. The endless possibilities and ideas came rushing in. I was excited to start a new chapter of my life.
In 2015, I returned to Tokyo and stayed with my cousins for a while. Wanting to find my own way in this world, I took another route and explored on my own. Growing in a household where we kept different kinds of animals, I felt incomplete not having any furry friend by my side. I bought my first bunny, Ringo, a Netherland Dwarf Rabbit to keep me company.
I got busy looking for what I really wanted. At the same time, I was also longing to be loved. To be in a relationship was natural for me. I couldn’t imagine what life would be like if I don’t have a partner I can be devoted to. I lost myself each and every time. Slowly but surely. I made sure their needs are met. I ignored red flags simply because I saw the good in them. I lost myself. I forgot what I came here for. I forgot about my strong desire to be a Youtuber.
I only focused on my romantic relationship. I wondered why. It dawned on me that my ultimate dream is to have my own complete family someday. It was something I never got to experience. I strongly believed I could have a partner by my side and both of us can reach our goals together. I never realized I needed to heal myself first. The inner child who didn’t get enough love and attention from her parents.
In my quest to find myself, I got curious and wanted to try Youtube again. I uploaded a video on my other channel on March 16th, 2020. It was a video of me and Bruno going to the park. I talked in front of my smartphone’s camera. I felt the content was not enough. It made me cringe watching myself on the screen. I made it private eventually.
Fast forward to September 2021, I came across Cathrin Manning’s Youtube channel and got inspired to pursue my passion again. I watched her videos about tips for becoming a Youtuber and took the courage to buy my own vlogging camera.
I started to practice filming everything and anything. I felt like a real Youtuber. It made me feel good. It was exciting. Exhilarating. I was doing what I wanted to do years ago. I never felt this kind of happiness before. I was going out of my comfort zone. It’s scary yet mind-blowing.
We went to Okinawa for my cousin’s birthday and the timing was right. I filmed every moment I could. I put myself in the viewer’s shoes. I asked myself, “If I were the viewer, what kind of scenes do I want to see?” My hands were a bit shaky so I had to keep it in mind. I don’t want to watch a shaky video either.
I wanted to upload it right away but there was a lot going on at that time. I was supposed to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2 (JLPT N2) on December 5th, 2021. I had two jobs and couldn’t find enough time to spend with my pets. I wasn’t able to study much. Everything was overwhelming yet it didn’t matter because I was busy preparing for a fancy birthday surprise for Takeru, a half-Indian, half-Japanese guy I haven’t met yet. Simply because I liked him. (He sent me a message on the day of his birthday suggesting we celebrate. He thought his friends wouldn’t be there. I just wanted to make him happy.) I also love preparing surprises and celebrating birthdays. I decided to do the surprise at Pasela Resorts in Shibuya, a famous Karaoke place in Japan. I met him after I took the JLPT test. He didn’t have any clue there was something waiting for him. Then TADA~! The smile on his face and oh boy, he couldn’t believe that someone he hasn’t met yet will do something like that for him. Apparently, his friends couldn’t do the same. Oh, the hopeless romantic in me. (I don’t recommend this, okaaay? Get to know the guy first, ladies!) Weeks passed, blah blah blah, a several 4-hours-on-the-train back and forth, I learned he wasn’t interested to be in a relationship. We did everything a couple would do but turned out I was just a friend to him. Knowing my worth, I let him know I didn’t wanna be his friend because I want more than that. I went home. There was me crying again in the four corners of my room. Oh, the Ted in me.
A silver lining? I passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test! I couldn’t believe it either! I wasn’t able to study much but I guess living in Japan for 6 years made its way through! Surprising indeed. I can’t wait to take the JLPT N1 this December 2022. I have to study hard for that. It’s a must. Imagine what kind of opportunities and doors I’ll be able to unlock if I have more knowledge!
After what happened with Takeru, you’ll imagine I learned my lesson and focused on myself this time around. Well… I met Jordan on February 18th, 2022 Friday. A Filipino guy who was raised in the U.S. He was so charming, his pearly white teeth dazzling, his smile captivating, his laugh was like music to my ears..he gave me a beautiful yellow flower (on the first day we met!) This guy gave me a flower without me asking for it. It was romantic. Oh shit. Am I in fantasy land? Everything seemed too good to be true.
We went to a Burlesque show where his friend Pierre was a DJ. I also met Kaylynn, Pierre’s fiancé. She complimented the ring I was wearing on my right hand. “What a sweet compliment”, I thought. I felt welcomed right then and there. A few moments later, Jordan was tipsy, happily dancing in front of me, smiling from ear to ear, swaying his arms in and out, encouraging me to dance, and both of us were laughing. We were having a good time. He held my hand as we navigated our way through the crowd. I didn’t expect there would be a lot of people standing around. I thought it was a show where people could sit on designated seats. I felt protected. I was swept off my feet. It was definitely a night to remember.
But… I couldn’t be myself around him. I’m a straightforward person. When we started dating, I had a sprain on my foot. I was telling myself, “My foot hurts“. I didn’t realize I said it a couple of times and he actually heard it. He told me, “Don’t say it that way. I am an empath and I feel bad when you say it like that.” Appalled, I asked, “How should I say it then?” He answered, “My foot is hurting, can we slow down, maybe?” From that point forward, I couldn’t say what I really felt, afraid I might hurt his feelings, and always thinking about how I should frame what I have to say in a nicer way. To compensate for the lack of words, I thought about how I could please him instead. I said “Yes” and agreed most of the time. It caused disagreements because I didn’t have any solid boundaries. I’ve always been a people-pleaser. (Something I wasn’t aware of before.) I pushed my needs aside. It would take hours for us to discuss what we disagreed about. He told me, “We are a team”. He was there for me but there I was, silent most of the time, who couldn’t even express what I felt because I shut my feelings out, ignored my needs, and didn’t know how to frame my words in a better way. Weeks later he told me, that I could be direct about my feelings. It confused the hell out of me. Which is which? Then it hit me, I finally found a solution, a middle ground. The missing piece in the puzzle. That one thing. I can say exactly what I feel, after a soft start-up like “Hey something is bothering me. Can I be honest about it?” That way he’ll be prepared for what I have to say. Right? This revelation enlightened me. He made me realize I can acknowledge my needs. I was truly confident it’s gonna be different this time. This time, I will be me. I can finally be me.
Long story short, we didn’t make it. It didn’t happen. The things he did hurt me endlessly. Vice versa, I hurt him when I broke my promise. I put him on edge. It was the most painful breakup I ever went through. I cried for weeks, a month even. It still hurts. How can it hurt so much? We have only been together for 2 and a half months. But then again, it doesn’t matter how long two people have been together. It was how that certain person made you feel. I was in love with Jordan. I loved how he swept me off my feet the first night we met. He gave me flowers each time. He serenaded me with his guitar and ukulele. No one has ever done that for me before. Tears were running down my cheek. I was so touched. He asked me to become his girlfriend right after. A week has passed and he surprised me with a White Day gift after I surprised him with a Valentine Day’s gift. I was up in the clouds. It included my favorite Snoopy, my favorite Kisses (he didn’t even know I love Kisses! I ate most of them before taking the pictures below.), an adorable Japanese snack with cat faces, a hand-written note on the card where it says, “You’re amazing” and all the cute pink stuff that I like.
The black Snoopy looks like my dog, Bruno! I was so surprised by the gift I didn’t notice it until he pointed it out.
Everything was so romantic. He was excited for me to meet the important people in his life. It was heart-warming; he wanted to include me in his life. It was a whirlwind romance.
He didn’t know that I fell in love with him that Friday night.
Jordan taught me several lessons I needed to know before I ventured out into the unknown.
I can reach out to people. I am not alone. I can acknowledge my needs. I started to notice the places around me; became aware of my surroundings. I am now wearing vibrant clothes instead of neutral coloured outfits, a trait I didn`t have before.
He introduced me to the people in his life. It forced me to go out of my comfort zone, and deal with my social anxiety + fear of people. After Saeka’s birthday party, I felt like my old self again. The 10-year-old me who wasn’t afraid to be social, and didn’t have trouble talking to strangers. I faced my fear of being close to people. I became brave. I am now out of my shell. Finally, I crossed the walls I built around me. I can breathe differently, much better than before. I’m finally back. I’m home.
I reconnected with my old friends. I’m happy to witness with my own eyes how happy they are in their romantic relationships. I was the third wheel. I didn’t mind. I felt hopeful. It was like watching my favorite rom-com starring my friends, ….. I am the V.I.P, I have the front-row seat. I could only see possibilities. The exciting part future has in store for me. For now, I’ll continue to enjoy being around them and learn from the best.
Birds of the same feathers flock together.
I know I’m capable of having a happy and healthy relationship like them. I just need to work on myself first. It is what I was supposed to do when I was 15 years old. I never had a break since then. I was always in a relationship or situationship. I haven’t reached my full potential because I was always on to the next. Love was around me all the time. I thought it was what I needed. All along I JUST NEEDED ME.
My family’s spiritual adviser Madam Airies, a famous personality in Japan, guided me in the right direction. I didn’t tell her any particular details about my life but she knew what was exactly going on. She confirmed what I already knew. Her wisdom helped me see this through.
I remind myself every single day.
So I continued editing my video no matter how overwhelming it was. I was motivated to finish it. My family encouraged me to go after what I wanted. I’m blessed to have each one of them by my side. They have my back and I have theirs.
NO MORE → “What if?”
I’m tired of letting myself down every single time.
I uploaded my first travel video; our Okinawa Trip: Episode 1 on June 15th, 2022 Wednesday. It took 7 hours to finish uploading. I waited patiently until morning. I was beyond thrilled when it was finally done. I was aware my internet connection was slow. Maybe because I didn’t upgrade my modem. Guess what? The timing was perfect. My contract with Softbank Air just ended. When I stayed with my cousins, I was impressed by how fast their internet connection was. I chose to continue my business with J:COM instead. I also applied to Amazon’s affiliate program to make sure I have a solid ground to work on.
I knew what self-love was but I was not aware of the deeper meaning behind it. I didn’t realize I have to go deeper and explore what lies beneath the depths of my soul. I have to achieve my goals first, work on my insecurities, read more books and study whatever I want, explore my hobbies, have a healthy social life, quality time with myself, and be unapologetically me. Only then will I be able to get what I really want. I need to be complete first. I need to focus on myself.
Now, I am free to find myself, to become who I want to be. I have the freedom to do the things I have always wanted to do. I am pursuing my passions, expressing myself, meeting new people, spending more time with family and my pets; Bruno, Ringo, and Cinnabon, dancing fearlessly, learning how to cook different kinds of Filipino foods and desserts, checking things off my bucket list, getting back on track, and actually living my life. For me.
I AM FREE.