All in Self-Love


"A week after I gave birth, I found a tiny bit of pus in my CS wound. It wasn’t a big deal - my husband and I laughed about it after I dramatically proclaimed: my body is a crime scene! But months after, I’ve found myself thinking about this truth. I’ve survived a multitude of violations against my skin and body. From being called brownie by my blonde-haired classmates in kindergarten, to being sexually abused by my swimming teacher in 5th grade, being followed home by a man because he was offended I didn’t thank him well enough after he complimented me, to an old college friend’s horrid excuse that he was taught 'no' actually means 'yes.' It took me 20 years to learn to love myself again, scars and all, and I think I’m getting better at it."


"'The Wheel' (Urdhva Dhanurasana) is one of my favorite yoga poses. It's an 'opening your heart' pose, intended to ignite the heart chakra and to heal oneself from emotional hurts from the past, keeping the body in harmony. To open your heart is to be sensitive, passionate, vulnerable and free. When your heart is open, you go with the flow and allow for new opportunities for growth and Love. Trust that you are being supported and being loved, and that no matter what happens, the Universe is on your side. Believe that everything will work out beautifully in God's divine timing. As I bend my back and open my heart to the skies, I learn to just let go, breathe, and surrender."


"I like the word 'kayumanggi' (brown in Filipino). It leaves a smile on your face when you say it. That's my word for 'morena.' Very Filipino. I have very Filipino features, too. While I did try to lighten my complexion in the past, I found myself more beautiful in my natural color: Kayumanggi. I found myself beautiful just the way I am. So now I embrace my self, and nurture this gift that God gave me." 


"I am not an advocate for too specific identity politics where my identity is tied to necessarily just me being a woman, a Filipina, a Cebuana, a manager, or a wife. There’s too much baggage. I do believe that there are many intersections for identity. A lot of mine was shaped by my being the eldest so I had to do many things independently. I had to learn on my own. And I’ve also just done things because I like to, not because I’m a woman or because of the work that I do. For example underwear, I really like lacy but subdued understated lingerie. I don’t do that thinking that my husband will see me or some other person. It’s just for me."