An Ode To Artists

Those with tired hands, eyes;
Tired bodies and minds
Whose pockets keep no dime
But hold stories and rhymes

Those whose stomachs hunger
Undaunted in their sins
For the soul hungers more
Than mere gold on their skins

Whose path is less traveled
Light + darkness unravel
Meet their angels + demons
Cast them into eons

Who go against the tide
Witness truths and beauty
The lies and gracelessness
Capture humanity

Those who need expression
Construct worlds for hours
A glimpse of redemption
A supercut of dreams

Who bare their wounds burns scars
Uncover souls minds hearts
Search for their breath of peace
Find it in an art piece

For the world that knows naught
But to run at top speed
Thank you for this solace
Escape, freedom… Reprieve

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A Note for 2019

Hi all!

Greetings from this suok!

Today marks the first anniversary of this blog and I’m more than grateful for what this outlet has given me.

Although I was not able to meet my initial goal of at least one post per week, From This Suok has given me some semblance of peace and purpose – and that, if anything, is worth more than meeting any numerical goal.

This year, aside from showing the usual movements from inside my head, I’ve figured it’s time for me to show you the world I see. Experience the sights and sounds from this suok of Cebu.

This new project is something I’m incredibly excited about and look forward to showing you the Cebu that I know.

Cheers!

Fireworks 🎇

[WARNING: A large portion of this post was written after having a 5-mugs-of-coffee day. And… Yes, I included an emoji on the title… Coz I felt like it. And. Caffeine.]

2018 has been quite the year. 52 weeks filled with a million ups and downs. A true whirlwind ringing in my Saturn’s Return.

As maddening as this year has been, as with each year, it’s been a teacher. It’s been a reminder of how uphill climbs are a part of living (and boy, do I need to work out some more).

2018 has also been a friend. It’s allowed me to pause and reconnect with myself – my true self. In the past 12 months, I’ve seen parts of me I didn’t even realize still existed.

I’ve created art. Not as much as I’d like, but still. 2018 has given me four songs (two of which remain… Unfinished… But we’ll get there), so it’s not been a total deserted barren waste land. This blog is about to reach its first year anniversary and has served as a home for my writings. I went back to coloring. I don’t quite know how to describe how it feels but between the patterns and the colors and the shades, I found 8-year-old me again.

I’ve consumed so much art. According to my Spotify 2018 Wrapped, I’ve listened to over 135,000 minutes worth of music and podcasts on their app (I know. It’s wild. But it’s not a hard number to get to when you’re like me and you’re constantly listening to something for your own sanity even when you’re sleeping). 2018 has given my soul so much new music to consume as well as keep my staples on heavy rotation (I jest. I obsess. 135k minutes, bro).

In the 52 weeks of 2018, I’ve finished reading 38 books (I actually kept a list this year!), including a few short stories and audiobooks. Not to mention a pile of unfinished ones (sorry… I just can’t… The stuggle is real). I’ve binge watched TV shows and movies that I’m going to cherish forever and will revisit like mad. I’ve discovered an intense love for stand up comedy and have finally reached an age where I can appreciate the brilliance of screenwriting. (I don’t know why I put those last two together in the same sentence but leave me be, it makes sense in my head. Somehow.)

This 2018 has essentially been about digging a deeper hole into understanding who I am and what my place is in this world (… Being older does that. Even when you don’t feel you’re older… Your creaking bones will remind you that you are older). Along with this ‘maturity’ (insert suppressed giggles), are a few things I’ve learned:

  • There will be people in your life that you will need to take a break from and that’s totally okay.
  • There will be people in your life who will need to take a break from you and that too is totally okay.
  • Being not okay is completely okay. As long as you remember to breathe through the madness. Remember how far you’ve come and how much you’ve overcome and whatever madness might be taking place is another thing that you will overcome.
  • Escapism, once done for the right reasons, can and will heal.
  • Art heals – this I’ve known for many years but it helps keeping it as a reminder coz sometimes this mad world makes us forget the important things.

As we prepare to ring in 2019, and as I get closer to entering the 3rd dimension – I mean – decade of my orbit around the sun, I wish to reflect on these:

Firstly, a few not-so-serious things (again, I’m overly caffeinated at the moment):

  • Are 6-year-old Kerly and adult Kerly and all Kerlys in between ready for the new Backstreet Boys album, DNA, before the release at the end of January?
  • Will I be able to sleep for the whole month of February knowing Kodaline will be in Manila yet again but not in CEBU (yet again)?
  • Will Paolo Nutini be releasing new music within 2019?
  • Will I ever be emotionally prepared for new Sara Bareilles music?
  • Will there be a Cebu staging of Hamilton (so I can be ambitious and audition for the Peggy/Mariah role. Key word: Ambitious)?
  • Will Saint Sister, The Staves and Lorde ever collaborate and merge all of their superpowers onto something and just bring me to their magical faerie land of music?
  • Will Netflix Philippines finally get all the Harry Potter and already released Fantastic Beasts movies and fully support my never ending love for the the franchise?

Secondly, and on a much, much more serious note, to ponder over these:

  • Who do you think you’d be had our ancestors simply traded and not been conquered and colonized by other civilizations?
  • How do we, as humans, account for the fact that we can never seem to learn from what history has taught us?
  • Who/What would you believe in if you were never told what to believe in?

    Nobody knows what this new year will hold for all of us, but I do wish for the following things this 2019:

    • More art – all mediums of it. The creation and consumption of it.
    • For humanity to return to the humane.

    I end my 2018 with this 30th published blog entry and enter 2019 with visions put into motion.

    Happy new year to you and yours! May you ring in the fireworks with an abundance of great food, wine, conversations and company.

    Cheers! 🥂

    Fall

    Better to give her a sword
    Than a pen to her word

    – Kathleen Solon, a bit of poetry from my sister after I’d shared a song I’d written.

    We move in a world devoid of color. A world that knows no rhythm and rest. A world that does not appreciate anything that does not have a price tag or a number attached to it. A world that questions the abstract because it fears what can’t be quantified or rationalized and simplified. We move in a world too impatient to listen to understand whether it be screams or whispers.

    For some time now, I found myself buried in the rubble of this world. Deep in the aftermath of this foliage, dried up and brittle, that I’d fallen distant from what has nurtured me.

    This week has reminded me of my true colors – I am an artist. I move through this world a little differently.

    I’ve the capacity to channel these thoughts and emotions, create and put them into motion. When pushed to the point of no return, I go through my arsenal and this week’s weapon of choice has been – as it almost always is – words.

    I’ve always had an affinity for words. It’s been my cure, my armor, my weapon. This holds true regardless of whether the words come from someone else’s pen or mine.

    This ability to turn to art as an outlet has brought about some semblance of pride. Pride over the fact that it allowed me to keep my sentiments in check when needed and let go when needed – or so I thought. This week has proven to be the opposite of that restraint.

    What broke that reserve was the fear that I was stumbling down a path I couldn’t and wouldn’t allow myself to walk. And so words were spoken into being. Set the foliage aflame. Words that may be deemed spiteful and perhaps even uncalled for.

    Words I remain unapologetic over as I look at the ashes.

    Not out of pride, but out of being human.

    Apologizing over my emotions would be cheating myself. It would mean I felt regret – I do not.

    I am human.
    I am an artist.
    To feel is vital.
    To feel is to be human.

    I was surprised over the power this gave me. Surprised over the parts of myself that rejoiced over the freedom to feel and express regardless of the outcome.

    This is a falling away of facades. This is a falling away from societal conventions. This is a falling back into oneself.

    11.25.2018

    Christmas 2018

    Tis that time of year yet again when families gather from far and near. (Please don’t ask me where that line came from.)

    Christmas has always been special in our household ever since I could remember. Over time, as generations crop up, we’ve changed how we celebrate Christmas. However, here are a few things that remain ever unchanged and mean Christmas to my family and I:

    1. The sound of kids running and laughing the house. (We live in the family home, everyone ends up here during the holidays and there’s always somehow at least one kid bouncing around high on sugar and Christmas.)
    2. Nat King Cole’s and Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas albums (Like duh… I grew up wishing they were my grandpa)
    3. GREAT. FOOD. And oh my gahd. Sooooo much homemade awesomeness. (My belly and I would like to thank my family – the Mom, the BigBro, the Sis.In.Law, the Love – for being badass cooks and for making dishes that remind me of heaven with each spoonful.)
    4. Wine. RED. Wine. (ALL that food needs to be broken down by some fine wine.)
    5. Harry Potter. (I mean, there HAS to be at least one Potter movie on TV during Christmas. If not, it’s not exactly Christmas… Yet)
    6. Family. (Whether bound by blood or otherwise. It’s about the people you hold near and dear.)

    Growing up in a tropical country, my understanding of Christmas and Santa Claus has always been rather unique and instead centered around those things.

    At the same time, I’ll forever be the kid who wishes for snow in my island but knows it’s not going to happen (yet… coz… climate change) but will take rainy weather and cold winds so she can curl up in the rocking chair next to the Christmas tree with a mug of hot choco (a.k.a. Sikwati, mah peeps) getting mesmerized by the lights and Nat King Cole singing ‘Oh, Tannenbaum’ on vinyl.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Overthinking

    One would think of all the overthinking overthinkers do that they would have already thought of at least a million ways to cure or alleviate the, at times, maddening thoughts that occur when one is overthinking.

    Yet here we are. Simply stuck in all the maddening thoughts swirling… Traveling through years and light-years. Of the fiction and non-fiction memories in varying resolutions. Of mentally recorded conversations. Of what might have beens. Of what could be.

    Overthinking.

    Hearing Old Songs

    ‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’

    – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    I’d been digging through my emails looking for an mp3 of a song I wrote and had shared with some people but no longer have any recollection over what the lyrics were or how the melody went except for the last line. It also seems I never wrote the words down anywhere or if I did I don’t know where the paper is anymore.

    Part of the reason why I couldn’t remember 99% of it was because I hardly ever played it. Coz I never could. Never could in the sense that I could never get through the song fully from top to bottom. All I remember was how I got around to writing that song and its backstory.

    I’d written it August of 2011. I was 22. As with nearly everything I’d created around that time, this was another attempt at making peace with the fact that I’d lost my father.

    I’d had a particularly rough night working through another bout of immense grief and did my best to sleep it off. In that sleep, the man whose presence I’d been missing came to visit me.

    In the dream, we spoke. We hugged. I held him close and buried my face in his neck. I remember taking a long deep breath and getting a whiff of that scent that was uniquely my father. Then he said, ‘Bye-bye to yesterday’.

    The dream felt very real. Too real. I woke up sobbing, feeling like a little girl lost without her father.

    Born out of that dream was a journal entry (that later became a blog entry) and a song. The song I was looking for.

    Grief is tricky thing. It follows no protocol. It comes and goes as it pleases without warning. Every anniversary is its own giant that either passes by peacefully or comes down hard on you. This year was tough. Each day approaching brought me back to 2011.

    However, these emotions have always been welcome. At least, to me. They’re meant to be there. It’s all human. And you simply deal with it in your own terms. This year, it seemed, my way of dealing with the grief was in wanting to play that song. Something in me needed to play it. To find a way back to that song.

    The file I’d been looking for is the only audio I have of the song. I remember wanting to record it as soon as I could so I didnt have to keep practicing it and I could just be done with it. It’s one of the very few times I got through the whole song without getting flooded over by emotions. I remember sending it to my siblings yet over time, with technological updates, I knew their copies were long gone.

    However, something told me to keep digging. And dug I did. I dug as far as I could. Through the oldest corners of my oldest virtual imprints.

    One afternoon, through all the digging, I found the lone copy. I was surprised to find that the biggest surprise wasn’t finding the song – it was hearing it.

    I was listening to my 22-year-old self. 22-year-old-Kerly sounded so sure of herself. She sounded so light. There was a brightness to her voice. Filled with so much youthful hope amidst all the madness that was the world and this grief.

    This led me to listen to some of my other old songs.

    I was caught off guard.

    Somehow, the songs were a lot easier to remember than the person who sang it.