sunflower bouquet

Who Are You?

“Who are you?” is one of the quintessential questions that an interviewer will ask you during an interview. This question also makes me think of the hookah-smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland & the song My Shot from Hamilton. Unless you take the time to really think about who you are, it’s also one of the most difficult questions to answer. I personally don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that every single thing that has occurred in my life & every person who has come & gone, happened for a specific reason. All of the past occurrences & people who have been in & out of my life helped me to become the woman I am today. And for that, I will always be grateful.

My Family

My parents met at my cousin’s 1st Birthday Party. At that time, my Dad was still married to his 1st wife, & my Mom was engaged to someone else. My Dad ended up getting a divorce because his in-laws didn’t want them to have children. My Mom ultimately called off her engagement because she somehow knew in her heart that there was something better waiting. About two years later, they reconnected & started dating. My Mom broke up with my Dad because she thought that he was entertaining other women behind her back. They separated for a little over three months before they got back together & eventually got engaged.

In grade school, I had to interview a family member about their best friend as a class project. I chose to interview my Dad. While I didn’t appreciate the love-filled answers that he gave me at the time, that interview shows me how beautiful true love is. In short, my Dad’s best friend is my Mom. She’s his best friend because they talk about anything & everything without getting bored of each other. His best memories with her aren’t even huge, impactful moments, but simply being around her every day. They don’t even have to say anything. But with a quick look or making silly faces at each other, he knows that he has everything that he needs in her alone.

My parents’ love story teaches that life is unexpected. If you have tunnel vision trying to pursue one clear path, fate & the universe may conspire against your current circumstances to give you something better than you could have ever imagined. Even after what you think is the love of your life, love can & will find you again. If you choose to keep your heart open & take a leap of faith. Their love makes me believe in soulmates & emphasizes the importance of marrying your best friend.

My siblings are my closest friends. They’re also my complete opposites. lol My sister is three years older than me, & my brother is three years younger than me. Being a middle child & their sister has taught me so much about how to communicate & mediate my actions when dealing with individuals who act & think differently than I do. While I’m a newly awakened empath, I know in my heart that my Dad & both of my siblings are empaths too.

My brother is bipolar. While I’ve lived the majority of my life not affected by my own emotions or the emotions of others, my brother gave me an inside look into the mind of someone who bottles everything he feels inside. My brother takes on the emotions & problems of others like a sponge.

As a Cancer sun, he’s innately empathic, emotional, & sensitive. While he can be the most enthusiastic & positive person you’ll ever meet, he also holds a lot of darkness inside & secretly hates himself.

I distinctly remember one day while I was away from home in college, & we were catching up through text. He was asking me how I was & how school was going, which was pretty typical for us. After saying goodbye to each other for the night, no less than 5 minutes later, my sister called me crying. She tells me that my brother is in the hospital under a 5150 (California law code for the temporary, involuntary psychiatric commitment of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others due to signs of mental illness). I am the last person my brother communicated with as if everything was fine before he had to hand over his phone & be admitted. After his hold for evaluation, he was officially diagnosed as bipolar.

My sister was bullied in grade school from the first grade through 8th grade. We went to a predominantly white, private, Catholic school. As one of the only brown girls in her class, boys in her class started to make fun of her on a daily basis. It got to the point that she was constantly depressed & at one point, even suicidal.

She’s also a Cancer sun, so she’s just as empathic, emotional, & sensitive as my brother. She prefers to bottle up all of her emotions up until she snaps, & it usually comes out as anger & frustration. Looking back, my sister was mean to me & bossed me around throughout her grade school years. But I completely understand why. It wasn’t until I moving away for college that we became closer. In the four years that I was living away from home, she would call me on the phone. She begged, cried, & offered to buy my train ticket to come home to visit.

I truly believe that my siblings made my empathic, spiritual awakening exponentially easier. In the times that I feel overwhelmed by my own emotions, their experiences struggling with mental health help me become even more determined to always transmute & channel my emotions into something positive. They help me embrace my new gifts with an open heart & mind, knowing that I already spend my entire life trying to be strong & stoic. Embracing my new empathic & intuitive abilities is possible because I always have them both to help me whenever I’d struggle.

My aunts, uncles, & cousins also play a huge role in who I am. Both of my parents are one of six children. They immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area from the Philippines. I grew up going to family parties every week. I created so many happy memories with my family playing games & going on vacations. As an adult, I still travel with my cousins on occasion. My family is fun, hilarious, & supportive of all of my entrepreneurial ventures. They were my first YouTube channel followers, my first blog readers, & my first Tarot card reading customers. I know in my heart that they’ll always be there to love & support me throughout my lifetime.

My Friends

While I keep my social circles very small, I have the best friends that I could ever ask for. Two of my best friends, I’ve known since Kindergarten; that’s 29 years of friendship. We are three points of a balanced & strong triangle. We’ve stood by each other & remained very close despite going to different high schools & colleges.

Brittany is an Aries sun. She is brilliant, driven, & outgoing. She consistently inspires me with her adventurous spirit, work ethic, & passion for the people & things she loves. She’s a true Fire Sign. Jessica is a Virgo sun. She is fiercely loyal, hard-working, & reliable. She encourages me to let loose & have fun. She’s constantly introducing me to new avenues of thinking & the greatest humans you’ll ever meet. She’s an Earth sign, with a Scorpio Moon, allowing her to embrace her emotional side too.

My best friend from college, Liz is also a Virgo sun. She’s incredibly grounded, level-headed, & practical. She’s always giving me advice whether it be for my career or my love life. She shares my love for delicious food & dessert. She reminds me of my worth & is always there to hype me up or surprise me when I’m feeling down. Even after twelve years of not living in the same town, she’s always there for me. We make the effort to fly across the country to see each other as often as financially possible.

My remaining handful of friends that I won’t get into specifics about are just as amazing, kind, & understanding. Even after days, weeks, or months without speaking to one another, we’re always able to come back together just as strong, as if no time has passed. I love all of my friends with all of my heart. It takes so much for me to open up to new people & make new friends, so the people that I choose to keep in my inner circle mean everything to me.

My Past Romantic Partners

My past romantic partners always act as a mirror into my soul & how I perceive who I am at a time in my life. The more tumultuous the relationship, the more I hated myself & needed outside validation. The more I change who I am to conform to who I think they want me to be, the more I see that I didn’t have my own identity without them. I changed my eating habits, my hobbies, & the way I dressed, did my makeup & hair to ensure I would always be “accepted” & “loved” by their standards instead of my own.

While I’ve retained some things that they brought into my life, I now choose to put myself first, only keeping what I truly love & want to continuously do going forward. I love to travel. Writing is my primary creative outlet. I love boxing, dancing, & hiking as my preferred workouts. My Nintendo Switch saved me from boredom during COVD-19 stay-at-home orders. I love homecooked meals, baking banana bread, & using Kraft Real Mayo on my sandwiches.

My past partners taught me to always see my own worth because no one else will ever be me. I choose who to be intimate with, because my body is sacred & not just anyone deserves to worship at my temple.

My Enemies & Haters

I know that I am not for everyone. There have been plenty of times in my life that others have gone out of their way to make their disdain towards me known. Instead of cowering in a corner, hiding who I am, or blocking out the world in an attempt to protect myself, I transmute their hate & unkindness & allow it to add fuel to my inner fire. Despite the opinions of others, I still deserve to have an abundant life. Hate will never deter me from accomplishing my goals or living a happy & successful life.

As the main character in the story of our own lives, we need to remember to always embrace every new chapter, every side character, & even our enemies to reach our full potential. So… who am I? I am a combination of every person in my life, every experience & life lesson shared with me.

I’m like my Dad because I’m creative, resourceful, & entrepreneurial, with hopes of being my own boss one day. I look like a younger version of my Mom. I also hope to be just as nurturing of a wife & mother as she is. I’m learning to be as caring & helpful as my siblings. I am just as amazing, fun, intelligent, kind, & supportive as my family & friends. I am everything & everyone in my life that I love. That’s who I am.

XO Denise

frozen wave against sunlight

Intimacy 101

What is your definition of intimacy?

In my mind, intimacy is a terrifying level of closeness. It may sound oxymoronic, but I’m not afraid to admit that intimacy in a romantic relationship is scary. While it’s natural to not have passionate chemistry with everyone, you will know when you meet the right person. Everyone wants love, but not everyone has the strength to let down their walls. That said, knowing & embracing intimacy is the only way to surrender. Learn to be vulnerable in order to fall in love, so let’s get into my personal version of Intimacy 101!

Intimacy cannot be forced into a relationship, & it shouldn’t have to be. No matter how hard you may want to try to build an intimate connection, intimacy must come naturally. It takes two individuals who are ready to fall in love. They want to be vulnerable & experience all types of intimacy.

Let’s explore the different types of Intimacy: Emotional, Experiential, Intellectual, Physical, & Spiritual.

Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy is being authentic & honest with your feelings. You must able to freely share your innermost hopes, dreams, fears, & secrets without judgment. Openly express your emotions & feelings for your partner, & understand that your partner is a human. Learn to accept who they are when they’re emotional. Make an effort to listen, & understand how they feel, even when it’s hard.

Experiential Intimacy

Experiential intimacy is sharing experiences with your partner. Go on exciting dates or trips that you plan & discover together. Bake or cook new recipes together in the kitchen. Go bungee jumping, or take a hot air balloon ride. Choose stops on a road trip that you both enjoy, & share your “must-do” things when exploring new places. Create meaningful memories & inside jokes. When you’re cuddling on the couch, you can laugh & reminisce about all the good times.

Intellectual Intimacy

Intellectual intimacy is feeling on the same page as your partner mentally. It’s having deep & thought-provoking conversations. It’s important to feel mentally challenged. Be open to expanding your perspective safely without fear of being attacked for your thoughts & opinions. Fall in love with your partner’s mind & their way of seeing the world.

Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy is self-explanatory. You should feel welcome partner’s personal space. It’s holding hands, hugging, kissing, massaging, & any forms of sexual activity. It involves consent, being comfortable, & feeling safe as well. No one should ever feel pressured or shamed into being physically intimate. Even in a committed relationship or marriage, no means no. Feel safe in your partner’s arms & trust them to love & respect your body.

Spiritual Intimacy

Spiritual intimacy is sharing special & meaningful moments. It can include religious practices, prayer, & meditation. It’s discussing ethics, morals, & personal definitions of spirituality without fear of being judged. To me, it’s spending time in nature, observing a sunset, going on hikes, & walking along the beach. It’s also appreciating rivers, lakes, & waterfalls together, so you can connect even in serene silence.

Key Takeaways

Intimacy still terrifies me, but I learned a lot. Exploring intimacy helps me realize the ways I experience intimacy without realizing it. Being with someone who makes you forget about being scared of intimacy is important. Use your fear as a guide. If your person makes you scared to be intimate & vulnerable, take it as a red flag. It may be time to reconsider your relationship. Your desire to feel closer to your partner needs to be greater than your fear.

Couples often try to build a foundation through physical intimacy alone, but don’t overlook the other types of intimacy! A healthy relationship involves being intimate, vulnerable, & taking a leap of faith. When you find the one, they inspire you to engage in all types of intimacy, & your person wants to be intimate in a way that’s always comfortable & safe.

XO Denise

SOURCES

mbg

BetterHealth

@doodledwellness

black punching bag

Fight Productively

I think we can all agree that fighting with others is never fun. My older sister, Danielle, is a Libra rising. Libra’s hate conflict & disharmony when it comes to their life, among friends, family, & even pets. As a little girl, she once screamed between two little boys on the playground who were about to fight. Ironically, her scream stopped the two boys in their tracks. They stood there wondering why she was screaming & forgot all about why they were fighting to begin with. My sister is also usually quick to yell & break up any fights between our dogs. Growing up with someone who highly values fairness & justice taught me a lot. We’ve only been living together again since June. But in these past 10 months, I’ve learned about my communication & what I need to do to keep the peace. This is something that I’ve decided to term as learning how to “fight productively”.

The Importance of Communication

My sister & I’s communication has always struggled since we were kids. After my younger brother was born, I felt like she abandoned me. She suddenly didn’t want to spend time with me or play with me anymore. She became a 2nd mom to our brother. It hurt a lot the way she would completely ignore me at times. As a Capricon sun (me) & a Cancer sun (her), we also have completely opposite personalities. We fought pretty regularly until I moved away for college when I was 18.

I am very blunt, direct, & solutions-focused in the way I communicate. She, on the other hand, is overly emotional, sensitive, & talks through her thoughts. She tends to ramble on until she finally gets to her point. I need to constantly watch my tone with her because she often assumes that I’m mad at her. In reality, if I’m focusing, the tone of voice changes because my mind & thoughts are elsewhere. Sometimes, I respond out of courtesy, but this usually leads to a fight, due to her assumption that I’m being snarky.

Finding a Solution

To combat this issue, we ask each other non-work-related questions whenever we’re on a break from work, during lunch, or after work hours altogether. I always want her to feel heard & comfortable with talking to me because it’s never my intention to be mean. By limiting important discussions & questions to certain times of the day, I’m able to focus on the topic at hand & devote all of my brainpower to fixing whatever issue or upcoming plans that we need to sort out when it’s easier for me to be focused. There’s a huge difference in the way we communicate. We prevent a lot of unnecessary, meaningless fights.

Another way to think of it is if you have a favorite sports team… it’s natural to always want your team to win. You will automatically brand any opposing team as the enemy, so when your team plays well & gets that win, you’re more likely to celebrate. Having winners & losers are definitely more fun when it comes to sports, but not so much when it comes to your relationships.

Key Takeaways

If you continuously fight with your family members or your romantic partners with the intention of “winning” the argument, there isn’t actually a good reason to celebrate. Because in shouting & shoving your opinion down the throat of the other party to “win”, all you’re really doing is ensuring that they “lose”. When you proactively chose to make the other party a “loser”, you both lose in the end. By making someone else feel like a “loser”, you lose empathy, intimacy, togetherness, & so much more in your connection with them.

When you choose to fight productively, you focus on finding the best solution for both parties, not winning. Resolving conflict in your everyday life should be about respecting each other’s point of view on the issue & working together to ensure that everyone feels heard, loved, & respected. The best possible outcome will always be one where you feel happy & positive that you’ve both won with the final solution. At the end of the day, ensuring to always nurture & create a healthy relationship dynamic is the real “WIN”.

XO Denise