love is life, and life is free.

This  weekend, I went to Hong Kong to experience the gay pride parade. It was beautiful to feel the energy from people shamelessly proclaiming their pride and belief in justice in love, sexuality and identity. It felt amazing to be able to support so many of my friends in this monumental event. Love is life,and life is free.

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from philly to the philippines.

for our week long Chinese holiday break, me and my friend Jihan decided to get away from the chaos of the city, and spend our time off in Cebu, Philippines. It was there where I finally felt a little peace of home.

Brown people, with smiles as big as the horizon, I was in awe of not only the beauty of transparent ocean, sugar-like sands and numerous palm trees, but the spirits of the Filipino people were breathtaking.

When we came to the end of the 3hr trek from Cebu City and walked off of the ferry onto the dock at Bantayan Island, we were greeted by men from the island, insisting that we let them carry our bags with no pay. Later at the village’s 141st Founding Anniversary town disco, our friend Tata who we met earlier that day said to us, “When I saw you come off the boat, I said wow, those are blackbirds” . 

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To be described with such imagery and comparison to something so free was comforting. It was like that moment like, “you see me, how I see me too?”. It was even more special because of my last name, Starling which means “blackbird”.

For the first time in 2 months, I didn’t feel feared. My differences were embraced, admired and I almost forgot that they even existed. It felt good to say “hello” as I did before I came to China, just because it was on my heart to and that same greeting be reciprocated with pleasantness and authenticity.

The Philippines reminded that love is real, fearless people exists, happiness is very simple and the horizon is where anyone can look to and find a peace for and of themselves.

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a surrealist you are.

if i loved you, i would try

to say all that i what i want to say

but i don’t.

so i am

intentionally silent

and

unapologetic

rising in the new skies, that are now real to me

you are

a figment of what could have been

surreal

so i be.

here, with me.

ascending past you like growing skyscrapers

like the ones that shield you every day

towering like fantasies

you admire their beauty

wanting to craft, create and conquer their stature

 afraid of heights

too timid to climb the scaffolds of another skyscraper because,

yours is not stable, still under construction

so you stay there

 in the limbo between growth and the ground

with moments of gumption and even more of doubt

you live in a comfort zone

staring at your reflection in the glass

the only thing that keeps you from falling down below

windows are  stained from your fingerprints because you are grasping for a grip

you say love sky scrapers

but if you loved them like you say you do

you would try to climb them, like you want to

but you don’t.

so you stand there

still

and unapologetic.

a love surreal.

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sensitive soul.

So, everyone I know has asked me, “What have you learned so far in China?”.

I would always reply slightly predictable, but today I thought for a moment.

I have learned that I am a sensitive soul.

I have never strayed away from my compassion nor my emotional side, but I have never considered myself a “sensitive” person. When I was younger, my older brothers would constantly call me sensitive as a negative thing. But as I have grown, I have come to realize that sensitivity is a beautiful thing, especially when you yield yourself to it. In coming to a cautious stop when approaching your sensitiveness, you experience the boldness of things such as introspection, discovery, and love. Not romance, love.

Because I have sensitized myself to all that happens around me, smells, sounds, trying moments, times of loneliness, happiness and stillness,  my heart is refilling itself with love. For such a while, it was low on love. I tried numbing it with seeking freedom in oblivion, but in discovery, I have found myself, sensitive and secure.

We all have a delicacy that we must acknowledge. Do your heart the favor of nurturing its needs to let a little love in.

after a while.

when you’re far from home, after a while you begin to see that all those big things that you worried about were so small. your walk gets a little lighter and your strides a lot wider because you have have respect for where you step but you also have let everyone else know that you have some places to get to and discover.

after a while, you see that your fear of instability starts to fade right along with your ideals of success because those notions were built on norms that you’re defying just by taking a leap of faith and sleeping under a foreign sky. soon you realize that you’ll be sleeping alone at night for quite some time, and although it gets lonely, you’ll start to fall in love with the rhythm of your own heartbeat.

and that person back at home that you’re still attached to with dreamy intentions of maybe, possible and potentially of falling in love with once you’re in the same country code, they’ll be there if that’s where they are supposed to be. plain and simple. 

…and if not, of course, you’ll survive.

after a while, you develop an indifference to all things that revolve around material and lack substance and your passions will become brighter and brighter with new space in you’ve cleared out in your spirit.

…i’m sure i’ll learn more things, after a while.