I got back last Tuesday from my epic adventure. 55 days in one part of Europe is huge for me, as it should be for anyone who isn’t from Europe. I came home and found out that I have work waiting for me and it’s perfect because I feel so super charged from everything that has happened to me that I’m ready to work. I’m ready to get creative again. Like a sponge, I’ve been taking everything in — the sights, the system, the culture, everything — and I’m processing it and it has to come out in one form or another.
I’ve sort of decided that living in Manila is not for me anymore. I love my country but Manila is the only place where I can find work and I cannot live in Manila. It’s too stifling. It’s the familiarity and it’s the struggle of the day-to-day. It’s not conducive for my process. I need distance. I want to live in a place that keeps me on my toes and where I have a chance to thrive. Manila is too familiar that I move through the city on reflex. I’m on auto-pilot and what I can contribute will only get me enough to make it to the next project. I cannot grow here. Not for a person like me. I’d have to be someone I’m not to thrive and I don’t want to play by their rules.
For things to work, I have to move. I have to leave. I have to be in a place where I can really stand out and I can’t do that here. I don’t have the mindset or the sensibilities for it in Manila.
I’m too different. I’m too foreign. I’ve felt it all my life. It’s time I did something about it.
I started getting in touch with my friends and family, making dates to see them. I got in touch with my friend Marla because I wanted to see her and her husband Joel. This was our exchange on SMS and I was responding immediately and spontaneously that I was shocked by what I had written.
Me: Marla, when are you and Joel leaving for your US trip again? I want to see you before you leave.
Marla: Yay! You’re back na? We leave next month pa. We have time.
Me: Good. You cannot leave without me saying hello and hanging out a minimum of three times before you leave. That’s an order.
Marla: I like this bossy Wanggo! Three times, yes!
Me: I wish I was still in Europe. The only thing I miss from here are friends and family. Now that I’m back, I need to surround myself with the people I care about so that I don’t feel so bad about having come back to Manila.
Marla: Oh wow, I remember what that feels like. I felt really fragile when I got back from my last US trip, plus it’s mercury in retrograde pa. So emotions are really going haywire this month.
Me: I think I might be able to escape it. My recent adventure has me on a momentum that is pushing past Mercury in Retrograde’s vise-like grip. I can’t be held down. I’m ready to burst with what I have inside me now; of what’s awakened.
Marla: Wow, I can’t wait to hear about it! I got the brunt of the retrograde the beginning of the month, but now it’s just work stuff na lang and my emotions are spared. How was your trip overall? What changed? What moved you?
Me: Everything Just the little things all add up to the point that I cannot live in Manila and be the artist I know I can be. We will hang out. This is a major discussion.
That’s pretty much our SMS conversation and I was shocked by what it revealed about me. I think it’s very telling about my state of mind, as of the moment.
I came home to two big projects waiting for me and I’m dying to get to it because I know I have so much energy and new insight that I can infuse my work with. At the same time, I just finished a meeting with my good friend, director Joaquin Valdes, and while we’ve never gotten to work together despite many times we’ve talked about it (I’ve always dropped the ball in three occasions), it’s time and I want to work with him badly and we just came to a brainstorming session that birthed a great project I’m extremely excited about.
I’m on a roll and this is the energy that was building since I’ve been to Europe. All those museums, those heritage sites, the natural beauty, and the energy of the cities are embedded into my system and my blood stream and it’s coming out as ideas and concepts and words. I feel so full that if I don’t go out and fill empty cups with this, I’m going to burst.
I’ve come back. I’ve returned and I’ve so much to share with the world.