Things are shaping up. And it took me quite some time, patience, and a lot of inner work to do so. And I’m feeling pretty happy about it all.
Step into your own power.
Answer to your truths.
Follow whatever the hell sets your soul on fire.
And remember why you’re here.
One month into my new home and city and I have to say, I feel I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. For months, I hadn’t realized how much I was holding myself back: my home environment was not conducive; I didn’t feel I could thrive; I felt limited, restricted, and stuck. When you wake up everyday feeling anxious, unsure, lost and alone because you simply didn’t know what you were meant to be doing, what you will be doing that day, or why you’re even here, that’s a big wake-up call (and that is not the Rachel I know or that you know. Helplessness is a real thing).
But this past month has been absolutely magical. The feeling of unpacking all of my belongings (for the second time in one month) felt both therapeutic and exciting. It was a feeling of knowing I am here to stay. I’ve finally found my place, my home, my place of refuge and safety and space to unleash all the budding creativity bottled up inside of me. It was a feeling I haven’t had since I first packed my tiny car with all of my belongings to drive down to SoCal all on my own almost two years ago.
After the initial excitement of leaving home with my naive wishes to follow my dreams, to months of an internship that threw me into the heart of Hollywood media, the Asian American community, to a year of chasing shows for inspiration, I got hit with some hard questions:
What is it I really want to be doing? Do I feel I am thriving? Do I feel happy with how I am spending my time and my life? And how can I support my “starving artist” tendencies?
That positive energy and relief I felt from my move came back to me. I was met with so many genuine moments of laughter with new friends and old. Weekends spent wandering the streets of Los Angeles — a town I hadn’t known or seen except for its concert venues I’d so oft frequent — warmed my heart. Bedtime pool hangs, treadmill gains, and a city of people I felt I could actually interact with (and hey, even a few off-the-cuff dates, meals and meets with people) have made this broke girl very happy. It’s funny how when you finally feel like yourself again, the attention comes running back to you and you say, “Hey, don’t mess my groove up please!”
One of those dates asked me, “What do you want to be remembered for at your funeral?” All I could say was, “Hm. To be remembered as a good person… Someone who may have had a positive impact on people, in whatever way or medium I have.”
And I think it’s important to ask yourself those questions from time to time. More often than not, we can get so lost in the ebb-and-flow of life and forget the real reasons we are here. What is the impact we want to leave on people? On our lives? What kind of lives do we want to be living? For me, I think it’s about just being remembered as a good person who may have touched someone else, with her words, music, behavior or way of life. That’s been the biggest effect anyone else has ever had on me, personally, and perhaps I’d like to pay that back.
This month, I’ve explored the world of audience and background work and, I have to say, in such a short amount of time, I’ve been able to book so many countless gigs each and every day, showing up to different sets and studio lots all around Los Angeles (oh, and that 15-minute commute from where I live now feels pretty nice). It brought the “hustle” back in me. It’s not all glamorous and more often than not, you can deal with some petty people (and extremely long days), but it’s been fun. The enlightening and affirming talk shows, the hilarious comedy moments, the game shows and new shows that make me want to become my own ninja warrior… It keeps things and life interesting and, as I’ve always been so intrigued in people from all walks of life, I’ve been able to meet so many kindred souls through this (and the payout is pretty generous for my starving soul as I’ve been able to make this a regular gig #gigstogetmeby).
I also celebrated my birthday for the first time in what feels like since I was 12 and, if any of you know me well, I’m not one for celebrating big birthdays, but it felt nice to invite a couple friends to go out, hang out, chill, and then have my family visit me for one day that weekend (because my indecisive self couldn’t plan my plane trip in time lol). My heart was happy and I felt so much love, laughter and kindness, which I only hope to continue to give back to all the people, however small or big in my life, who have made me feel happy, seen, loved or even believed in.
To all the belated birthday treats, weekends that felt “normal” for once, with daytime brunches, afternoon affogatos, weekend food trips, birthday meals, dinners and catch-ups… Y’all know who you are. Thank you Angela, the Elusive Milk Tavern group, the Golden Hour Hearts Club Band, the KEB Family, my Fil-Am Family, to those who couldn’t make it out but still expressed their love, catch-ups with my high school bestie Luna & Co. (or pitbull lol), Andrew K. for the good vibes (and Japanese discotheque always), a visit from my red-hatted East Coast friend and more…
This month has been a lot of starting over, rediscovering and beginning again. I randomly became a brand ambassador for FlipBelt, a beloved running belt company for the LA Marathon Expo one whole weekend, which inspired my love-for-running heart and reminded me of my love for the run community (nice to meet and make some new friends from there). I’ve spent many more days at home when I wasn’t working just feeling “normal,” by cooking at home, eating at home, playing more and more guitar and actively writing more. (It’s a funny thing how you can lose touch with some parts of yourself when adulting hits). Lovingly, I also had such a blast previewing a new Sundance film inspired by a young writer who becomes inspired by music — something that I feel hits personally close to home (and hanging with the cast and crew who are kids just like me was nice). I’ve been getting a better hold of myself when it comes to doing press for events, while still holding my own goals intact. It’s nice to know I still get the nod and invitations for these kind of things.
And, how can I forget the moment I was able to be there with Mandy Moore, her closest friends, family, the This Is Us family and A Walk To Remember and Shane West himself?! I feel these past couple of months have been absolute full circles, with finally seeing Switchfoot (Jonathan Foreman) a few months ago, to then being there for such an intimate moment to celebrate Mandy’s star on the Walk Of Fame. My younger self was in absolute disbelief, and it was humbling to hear her words and why I’ve always seen so much of myself in her:
“I’m finally starting to understand and own who I am. It may have taken a long time to get here and a long time to feel comfortable in my skin but hard work is what grounds us. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you must be grateful for where you’ve been in order to keep moving forward. And I have such an appreciation and fondness and respect for my young self, because she is what brought me to this moment today, twenty years later, with her own star on the walk of fame.”
It’s been a wild month, and I’ve been riding the wild hustle train lately. But these moments, life learnings and conversations have all been eye-opening and priceless.
I think there’s a reason I’ve been working with Steve Harvey so much, only to have him say so much every time, how he’s gone from being a bad kid, a troublemaker, to being a foul-mouthed comic to someone who used his gift to rise above and beyond, go from being homeless to having so much success, and being so real with us when he says to follow your gift, to use what God gave you, to follow the path He set for us when we were born and to wake up the day we realize why we were born.
It’s been a lot. And maybe those conversations of people who give me so much of their attention for no reason (and who want to be my “hypeman”) reminding me that hey, maybe all the attention I do get is a sign. Apl De Ap? Oh you’re homies with some band I grew up with? These people I grew up watching online can casually go up to you and say, “Let’s jam?” That’s stuff my 15-year-old self couldn’t have even imagined (and how crazy is it to have them witness an actual follower of mine approach me, nervous, shaking in their boots — which, for why?! — after I had dismissed the idea to them for so long. Ha. Pretty humbling, I have to say).
Sometimes all it takes is zeroing out on everything else, and zeroing in on yourself, your bliss and your stride.
There is a strong desire as a creative and sensitive soul to seek permission. Believing and trusting in myself, fully and wholeheartedly, has always been one of my biggest struggles. And I am just discovering again what it is like to be comfortable in my own heart, mind, body and soul. I am understanding how to reclaim my light, to never hesitate to shine in it. For so long, I’ve been too afraid to follow my heart, to follow my bliss, to let myself fully go to my heart and soul’s desires. Being human naturally comes with struggles, no doubt about it. But life’s too short to hold back your greatness when you’re too afraid to be your best self. It’s time to thrive, inside and out, my woman, my feminine, my soft and stubborn heart, to let my true self shine.
We are always learning in this life. And that is okay. When you have your bliss by your side and you are following your true heart’s desires, I trust everything will fall into place.
I have found that girl again.
With love and honesty,
View my past video blogs below:
I’m Stuck, Babe 2/2019
Back To The Velvet Underground 1/2019
Coming Up Roses 12/2018
In My Feels 11/2018
Through Thick And Thin 10/2018
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
You Give Me That Wicked Love 4/2018
Forever On The Road 2/2018
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