Category Archives: Experience

Why I Stay in New York

I’m back! This post took me over a month to have the courage to publish. I struggled to be gentle, tender and loving to myself as I wrote this as I’m baring the current status of my soul to you, lovely readers, so please, be gentle. 

I unintentionally took a break from my #2017Project during the month of April. March had been full as I curated daily content for the Reclaiming #WalangHiya digital platform. When April came, I didn’t do a great job of setting aside intentional writing time. That, and a lot happened.

Winter, Lent and Easter came and went. I gave up alcohol for Lent. I spent time confronting myself through daily reflection. I decided to enter a committed monogamous relationship. I worked every weekend. I went to Atlanta for the first time and for my first work conference. I started job searching, got an offer, accepted another offer, put my two weeks in and worked my last day last week. In the midst of all this, I experienced intense anxiety and a few mental breakdowns. At one point, I started to tell my friends that I was ready to return to the West Coast. Now, I’m starting to wrap my head around the fact that I am staying longer in New York than I initially expected.

While I was discerning over whether to stay in New York or go home, my good friend and beloved editor, Mary paused me to mull over the following: 1) when life gets difficult, I have a habit of saying I’m going to return to the West Coast, and 2) something seems to keep me here in New York. It doesn’t seem or feel like I’m ready to leave simply because I’m saying I want to move back to the West Coast during a period of desolation.

And despite my anxiety, stress and frustration at the time, I knew Mary was right. Continue reading

#WalangHiya: Transforming the Burden Into a Weapon

[tw: domestic violence]

If you asked me a few years ago, “What is family?” I would not have known how to answer that question. In fact, it would be so confusing my head would hurt after much contemplation. My parents married around the ages of 18 and 19 due to my father impregnating my mother. Not being able to financially support my sister in the Philippines, they migrated to New York City in 1993 where I was to be born a year later. My father juggled three jobs at a time while my mother stayed home to take care of me. Their relationship, however, was troubled since the start. My mother had an affair with three other men at different times. My father and the rest of the family found out about the first one because the first guy sent a VHS video recording of my mother and him having sex. My dad responded poorly through domestic violence. I was not at the receiving end of the hits but the damage was done. Continue reading

Fade to Brown: Recasting the Role of #WalangHiya

Awkward but loyal stage manager Sunday La Paz (myself) talking with stressed out director Nigel (Paul Sobrie) in 2400 Miles Off Broadway (Dir. Taft S. Rector, 2016)

[D]ocumentaries counter the lies of dominant media by representing the eternal “other” – whether welfare mother, gay man, prisoner, sterilized woman, Vietnam veteran, Black activist – as concrete and comprehensible persons. By freeing such figures from the bonds of stereotyping, the documentary can recuperate them into boundaries of feasible identification and lessen the chance of objectification.” – B. Ruby Rich, 1998 [1]

Since I carried (then dropped) a camcorder on my brother’s fourth birthday party, I have been interested in film– as a creative medium, an apparatus to the human psyche, a documentation tool, a memory keeper. I’ve held various fulfilling, questionable, and downright exploitative jobs in the film world, from casting to craft services to stand-in to grip.

At 23 years old, I found a niche in producing, screenwriting, and acting. Continue reading

It’s a Match! Dating with #WalangHiya

“You should only date Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, or white – but only if he’s rich” – my Filipina Grandma on who I should be dating

I’m a second generation Filipina-American and fourth generation Chinese-American. I identify as a heterosexual female. I’ve lived in Austin, the Bay Area, Las Vegas, Seattle, Mexico City, and now I’m in New York City. I’ve met a lot of different people, and I have had a few romantic interests along the way. I love the thrill of getting to know a new person. However, I hate the “courtship” dance and the anxiety I get when I think about introducing this person to my family, especially my grandma. She is very vocal about who I should be dating even from a young age. Continue reading

Beauty & Shame: One Filipinx American Journey

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

All throughout my childhood, this is what I was told from a young age.  But what does that really mean when you are living in a constant game of comparison?

I have a beautiful family and I knew it from a young age.  My mom, my aunties, and my lola were all fascinated with beauty. Not often their own, but the beauty of others. They wanted fairer skin and a pointier nose. This way of thinking definitely trickled down to me.  No surprise,  it had an impact. I constantly compared my own beauty to others. I often wondered:

           Why wasn’t I skinny enough? 

          Why couldn’t I wear that top?

          Why did I not have better hair?

Continue reading