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double cleanse your life

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If you've never heard of the term "double cleansing" let me clarify, no, it's not a dirty term for anything. In fact, it's quite the opposite. It stems from K-beauty where essentially you cleanse your face twice (once with an oil-type cleanser and another with a water/foam-based cleanser), hence the term "double cleanse". This is a ritual I practice every night. For me my skincare routine is basically like my own form of self-care and the chance to have a few minutes to myself. 

But, we're not talking about skincare today. The title "double cleanse your life" came to me while going over my skincare routine. I thought about it and realized that while you can double cleanse your face, why not also take the time to double cleanse your life? It sounds sassy and extreme (I know) but I consider myself an "expert" on sassiness so let me continue to clarify this.

We've all been there. We've gone through many different challenges, difficulties and breakups of the romantic, platonic, and even familial realm of relationships. But even though you've cut ties with someone don't you still feel some sort of residue left over from them? Even though you've 'cleansed' your life of them, something still lingers and you can't really figure out what that is? Welcome to double cleansing. 

I know, it sounds super harsh and maybe it is but hear me out. These days extracting someone from your life involves more than just not talking to them at all. These days, it requires a lot more steps that involve a lot of unfollowing, unfriending, deleting, etc. It also requires purging their belongings from you life too - if you want to be extreme. But how about all those bad memories? We don't have the ability to erase them from our memories, but another piece of "cleansing" also means letting go. This might actually be the hardest part! How do you cleanse someone who potentially had an impact in your life, whether big or small? The truth is, it's not easy. In fact, it's fucking hard. 

Rather than getting caught up on how they might have hurt you or pained you, feel that feeling and then let it go. As with things of this nature, it's always easier said than done, trust me. It used to be one of my biggest challenges to really learn to let things go. In fact, sometimes it still is. But hey, we're all a work in progress aren't we? 

To really double cleanse someone from your life involves letting go of them physically and then learning to let go emotionally (which is always the hardest part). Sometimes it's easy because you've come to a mutual understanding that this needs to happen, and most times it's one person who wants to end it off which makes it a little more challenging. But letting go emotionally takes time, trial and error, practice, and a lot of patience with yourself. Letting go is the second part of 'double cleansing' someone from your life. It will always be challenging one way or another; this also goes for any general toxic relationships you've had. However, I think once you can take the time to wish them well, or at least well enough (for most of the time they come to mind), then you've already double cleansed them of your life and who knows, you might be making room for something new.

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but where are you REALLY from?

"But where are you really from?" Ah yes, the question that I and other POC have run into time and time again while living in Toronto. I've been wanting to write more about my experience as a "child of the diaspora" but I couldn't really figure out what exactly to say, or even how to say it. I just couldn't put it into words, until one day I realized that the one question I've been hearing all my life is a loaded question, so why not start with that?

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One could attribute it to the gateway into micro-aggressions, but for me, this question presents a myriad of experiences. To give context, I grew up in a city that was pretty diverse. I didn't run into the "first generation" lunchtime problems of having my lunch be referred to as something gross. I didn't have to tone down my culture to fit into a certain mould at school, my friends were pretty damn diverse. Even in high school, it was still pretty diverse, never did I really feel like an actual minority. School always felt like a giant melting pot of different cultures coming together to get through the day. It wasn't until I hit university that I became truly aware of being "Asian" at all and that was a really interesting experience in itself. 

So having those experiences, hearing the "but where are you really from?" question is honestly pretty annoying for me. I'm Filipinx but don't look like the "typical" Filipinx which is probably based on my skin tone which is on the lighter side. Upon hearing my response about 99% of people look flabbergasted and ask me again where I'm actually from, as if I would make up being another ethnicity for a joke. The response that used to sting a lot, to which now I have become pretty numb to is when other Filipinxs hear my answer, look at me strangely and say "Noo, you're not. You're lying. You're too light to be Filipinx. You must be Korean or Japanese or Chinese. I think you're lying" (Insert unimpressed face here.) I used to feel pretty offended at the response of my own people thinking that I'm a liar, as if I needed to look a certain way to be of that ethnic group. Now, it's sadly something that I'm used to and pretty much anticipate as a regular response. 

As a kid of the diaspora, this response and everything that comes with it makes you really question your ties to your own culture but also that you also need to be tied to the Western culture. As kids of immigrants we don't realize that we are doing a very interesting balancing act of learning and holding onto both cultures that the last thing we need to hear is "but where are you really from?" 

You can learn about your ethnic culture as much as you can, but it will never truly compare to someone who has grown up in that culture, in that country because your experiences are different. That doesn't make you less of your ethnicity at all, it just makes for a different experience, which is why asking someone where they're really from when they were born in North America is a loaded question. We don't share in that experience of being from our "motherland" as someone else, but it's like being an in-between. We're holding and being moulded by two different cultures, so is it really fair to ask a POC where they're really from if they're born and raised in the same country as you?

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How Sailor Moon Introduced Me To Feminism

I know, it's a strongly worded title, in fact it's a mouthful but hear me out. I love Sailor Moon, even to this day; so much so that I'm pretty much caught up on Sailor Moon Crystal, am eagerly waiting for the next season/movie, and have finished the entire manga series within the past few months. So, I guess you could say that I'm kind of a huge fan. 

 (repost from  @anime.aesthetxcs )

(repost from @anime.aesthetxcs)

But it's more than just the nostalgia behind it or even the anime itself. For me when Sailor Moon first debuted on the North American side, as a young girl, Sailor Moon meant something really important was happening; a lot more than I initially realized. Even back then as a kid, I was a huuuge Sailor Moon fan, even getting my dad to buy me English-sub Sailor Moon movies to watch it with my cousins since it wasn't available in English. Yes, even then I was pretty hardcore about it. Beyond the story, drama, and just general magic of the series I'd say that I was initially influenced by how strong they were. Here were these teenage girls, going to high school, transforming into Sailor senshis, kicking ass, only to wake up the next day and do it all again. I mean, it was one hell of an intro into feminism! It was my first true taste of girl power and I loved it. 

I didn't understand the overall influence back then, but I do now. These girls seemed like they could do anything, together. While they did have small arguments here and there and even a few "internal rivalries" at the end of the day, they had each other's back. They supported each other AAAND Sailor Moon also brought in the idea of queer love, which to elementary-aged me, was a pretty "new" concept in terms of Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. However, to the North American market, they were marketed more as cousins rather than lovers but since I was so obsessed with it I really looked into the original version and discovered that they were lovers. But that's for another post...

Anyway! Sailor Moon and the rest of the Sailor Scouts really showed that girls were capable of anything - even saving the world and saving the "male hero" Tuxedo Mask from time to time! They were seen by the villains (male, female or other) as "equal" threats - not just "weak" because they were female, but as a true threat to whatever their evil goals were. I didn't understand it to that degree as a kid, but looking at it through my current lens, they were (to put this in super simplistic terms,) my first experience and influence into "girl power" and that girls really are strong even though we all have flaws and insecurities. 

A huge example of this being Sailor Moon herself; referred to as Serena in the English versions and Usagi in the Japanese version. Regardless of her name, here was the "first" Sailor Scout we meet and she is basically a clumsy crybaby who doesn't care much for academia at all. But, when there's trouble or evil around, she transforms into a confident person who fights for love and justice. While she was strong by herself, she always fought with the rest of the Sailor Scouts and supported them in each of their passions, things they were going after, or just taking the time to get to know them. If that's not a look into how you can be a flawed human being but still able to kick ass if you really do believe in something then I don't know what else to tell ya! 

Beyond all those lessons this group of characters has taught me that while you can fight alone, you're not without your sisters and this is something that rings true today. Feminism is for everyone and while you can go at it alone, you're not without your peers. So here is to one hell of an anime/manga series that planted the initial seed of feminism with style, grace, and planetary magic. 

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