In a Summer Daze

Malibu, CA. 10/4/2020. (Photo: Timo Sumida | @tysuphotography)
Malibu, CA. 10/4/2020. (Photo: Timo Sumida | @tysuphotography)

“Search your heart. Find what brings you joy, in whose company you are most serene. Be there, be fully there.”

Note: This is the first of a collection of drafted blog posts I've written throughout the late spring, summer and fall seasons. These have been revisited and I will continue to share in order of seasons. Ty for being here xo.

It’s been a while since I’ve properly written on here and updated you all. It seems that as this year continues, we’re all struggling to maintain some sort of sanity. I’ve continued to work tirelessly at a job where I feel like I am both running the place and running away from it. As days go on and the physical labor and emotional demand of the job takes it toll on me, I self-soothe, isolate and recharge, in order for me to show up as my best self the next day… and the day after that… again and again and again.

One day I’m going to miss all this: the hustle and grind, the confusion, the running around, the being in a million places at once to being nowhere, the meeting so many people and talking to so many people, to being tired and exhausted, uninspired and demotivated, reassured and uplifted, tired yet grateful.

It’s the few regulars and heart-to-hearts I have with these people who cast the light I give out right back at me, which fuels me and makes me feel okay.

I feel very lucky to have gotten to this point in my life. I often think back on the past four years it’s taken me to get here — from that day in late June four years ago where I packed my life and belongings into my car and set out for Los Angeles (or a friend’s couch in Orange County). I spent those first two years living on couches to friend’s extra rooms in cities I didn’t know, getting over a heartbreak, plunging myself into every work opportunity, music and show — anything that excited, thrilled me, and made me feel most alive — just to find myself and create some semblance of feeling like I belonged here.

I’ve spent the past decade second-guessing every move I made, even if I was always following the music and the writing and the shows and the artists who gave me their confidence. The truth is, I didn’t have it in myself. And it took me years of getting over breaking my own heart, navigating a new city, learning how to take care of myself, to grow up, to dealing with all sorts of personalities, weeding out so many people, only to realize that I’ve had it in me all along.

“She’d never been held so tightly by anything in life,
than by the coolness of the damp morning,
And the orange glow that bathed her
During the lovely hours.”

I submitted something new for the first time in what feels like two+ years since the last time I did, and it made me feel damn good, because I realized:

  1. how damn qualified I am when I find something I actually want and know;
  2. how all my years of doing grunt work and hustling and freelancing and not really knowing what I was doing interviewing artists and writing for publications with no pay all while being passionate for the art and the music and the story made me work my ass off writing, creating, producing social media content, etc.
  3. how passionate I am about the environment, women’s health, wellness, etc. because this pandemic and a damn heartbreak years prior showed me and forced me how the hell to take care of myself, self-soothe, and really own myself and my light.

Sometimes it just takes a little looking back to realize how far you’ve come and how much you’ve done to remember just how powerful you are, and always have been.

Early this July, I was able to finally return to live music and catch a slate of live shows, week after week, from artists I love in the community.

I would like to thank Kate Earl, a longtime musician and singer-songwriter who I have looked up to for the past decade, and her brother Johnny, for always instilling their confidence and encouragement in me. In the words of Johnny:

“You have it all Rachel! You have the talent and the beauty and I know if you just get over this blockage, you would really shine. I refuse to see you fail. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from my sister, it’s that you’re only getting older. Your time is now.”

For so long, I was an ambitious little dreamer kid who always kept to herself and didn’t realize the value and impact her own friends and family had on her. I’ve been blessed, and the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve learned to treasure, value and make time for my loved ones.

To the friends and family at home whom I’ve grown up with who make me feel my most loved and supported: I don’t get enough time with you throughout the years, but the bond we’ve built and shared through our most formative years will always stay with me.

For my friends in LA for reminding me just how beautiful this life is, to my “birds of a feather,” 500 Days, barista friends and family, to my circle for our laughs, drinks, impromptu “hot pot and sake” nights and eats, and my fellow artists, for how our art and music and writing are free and selfless, and how we remember that things are supposed to be fun, and we should keep it fun.

And for Rue: we shot a damn commercial and it was so unexpected and these opportunities have just fallen on our laps just with us being us, even if we haven’t been working on anything for months on end. That says a lot. And moreover, the friendship and inspiration and life you’ve given me when I felt like I was losing it has meant a lot.

I’ve come a long way since my first golden hour shoot at 25.

Take note of the spaces you’ve been in, the opportunities you’ve been given, the energy you emit and the energy you attract.

I’ve always believed and have been told there’s something about me that draws people to me. It’s a shame to realize I haven’t quite fully realized that in my day-to-day life — that I’m caught in this cycle and blockage of doubt, disbelief and fear, even when I feel the most confident and self-assured I have ever been in my life. The routines I’ve set, the lifestyle I’ve adapted, and the two years+ neglect to follow my heart and my dreams, wholeheartedly, have messed with my natural rhythm + flow.

I’ve worked in many places and environments where the work you would do wasn’t properly recognized, celebrated or validated. As I’m training new people and bringing on new projects, I’ve found I am more candid in recognizing people’s work, openly celebrating and validating it.

Those are the kind of words and encouragement I wish I heard because I knew I worked hard and showed up for every single job. I realize my light and leadership doesn’t go unnoticed. I want my team to feel validated. It’s recognizing we’re all in this together to make the show/shop happen.

This is teamwork. I’ve thrived in teamwork my entire life. Early days of dancing, my decade as a cultural dancer, my involvement in clubs and organizations in school, my writing and words and interviews highlighting an artist’s work, and the work I do everyday to run this coffee shop.

What’s my next chapter? I don’t know. But I’ve had this culmination of my journey, forever enmeshed and shared and enjoyed with all those I’ve crossed paths with.

Don’t lose momentum. Keep sharing your light.

With love and honesty, always,

Rachel

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