The Sanchez Family

One could say I’m not a very traditional photographer. I don’t come in and meet a client for just an assignment, I am in it for the experience.

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Though I don’t post much of the work I’ve done in the realm of family portraits here on my site, the opportunity was too good to pass not to post the photos of this particular family. So I asked their permission to write a story about it.

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These photos were taken during a visit to Germany and as the photo shoot was going on, someone was playing the guitar and the music just brought everything to a realm of love.

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Their beautiful children were only fluent in Spanish, so I found myself in a challenging situation trying to direct them at times.

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But they were so naturally in-tuned with each other as a family that the beauty shone rightfully through every photo.

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by: @RitzMarie
Models: Sanchez’s
Location: Germany

Artist Squat (Paris)

When I was younger, I wasn’t really around many artists, so I had little clue on how they worked or their place in the “rat race”. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that I was an artist. I was in denial for a time, but I’ve come to terms with it. Moreover, I realized that that they are an integral part of everyday lives. Imagine a life without art!

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I became a photographer in 2006 when I moved to Toronto, Canada for postgraduate studies in marketing. My family said I needed to find a job to support myself and everyone was in shock when it was a job in the field of art.

Artist: Luigi La FerlaIMG_3185IMG_3172IMG_3166IMG_3159

Since then, I have had a few jobs – including corporate jobs; but I balance myself with the artist inside me. I grew up in Manila, and as of writing, art is not a priority in the country. Reasonably so, due to the socio-economic status of majority of the population.IMG_3193IMG_3197IMG_3199IMG_3203IMG_3210

When I was invited to exhibit in Paris, it was also my first time in Europe – so imagine my excitement! I researched places to go and came across 59 Rivoli’s Artist Squat. IMG_3369IMG_3368

Work by Omar Mahfoudi.IMG_3361

Imagine a place where you can interact with artists using multi-mediums and of various disciplines – SOLD!

IMG_3383I loved how Luca Pellizzari held his pencil with such grace.

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Through the work of each individual, one could truly sense the world in their mind’s eye. The following artist is David Twose.IMG_3245IMG_3255IMG_3247

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“Fuck! Pas de Wi-Fi” installation by Gaspard Delanoe.IMG_3339IMG_3328

Artist photographed below is Eve Tesorio.IMG_3365

It was a pleasure exchanging stories and delving deeper into their world.

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Sandra Chérès

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I spoke lengthily with two artists, first is Sandra because I was inspired to see how simple pages can be transformed to a piece amalgamated with such meaning.IMG_3406IMG_3405

The last artist I spoke with was Helen – absolutely adored the simple complexities in her work! It spoke so much to me and we lengthily chatted about a collaboration (if you’re reading this, I’m still on that!).IMG_3398

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Helene Fromen

How she transforms simple curves and lines into shapes and forms that invoke such emotion and meaning is a present mystery.IMG_3414IMG_3391IMG_3396IMG_3420Should I have not been traveling with one suitcase, I would have shopped for some art here. But I remain optimistic, who knows – one day I’ll return and buy tons of art from these amazing artists! If you are in a position to do so, I say visit the place and support artists.

Photos and words: @RitzMarie

Portraits, Your 2019

First of all, I would like to thank all the readers and followers of my work. It encourages me to do better with each coming project so I can be a vessel of inspiration for whoever lays eyes on my projects.

5I conceptualized a project of “Moments Recorded” by RzM Creative Studio in an effort to further push a creative strength when it comes to capturing the essential beauty of my subjects. 4Starting the month of August to early November 2019, I am open to scheduling casual portraits, family portraits and glamorous portraits for all of you.
9Whether it be with a loved one, or for the purpose of recording your self-love – RitzMarie Creative Studio is in the market to capture your light, wonder and beauty.

3So here are the frequently asked questions:

  1. Can you make me look like a model? —- You are truly beautiful in yourself. You need not look like another. All the photos I’ve chosen for this post are models. So, yes – I can make you look, like the model you are.
  2. Where do we shoot? —- Preferably in a private space, could be your house, a hotel, a restaurant, a garden, etc. I have some recommended places that we could discuss through should you avail of my services.
  3. What do we wear? —- I would like to capture the vibe of you and each individual, so I would say just come as your best self and bring clothing options we could put together. Or if you’re feeling fancy, I could connect you with a wardrobe stylist (at an additional cost).
  4. Will we have a glam team? —- For the option of glamour photo shoots, of course. This cost is per head depending on the services you would like to avail. But for a casual shoot, you can do your own make up or go to your favorite salon and have it done before the shoot should you want to cut down on costs.
  5. How much will this cost? —- Depending on the service you want, the cost may increase or decrease. So message us with your expectations and we will get back with you with the cost. Please check you input the right email address.
  6. How long after I get the photos AND will you make us thinner? —- I promise with all my essence to capture you in your best possible light without having to photoshop every inch of you. You will get a digital photo album of at least 30 photos (ready-to-share online) within the two weeks after the day of the shoot.
  7. Can you make us ART? —- Yes, I can incorporate your photo into an art installation like I have done for my “Lucid Dreaming” exhibit in Osaka, Japan and “Stardust.” exhibit in Paris, France (posting this one soon).

21You can use the photos for upcoming event invitations to family gatherings, a submission if you have a family newsletter or the all-encompassing – Christmas card. It’s July already! Christmas is coming soon! 😉 All kidding aside, it would be an honor to be a witness to wonderful moments we can establish and capture together.12

 

59 Rivoli, Paris, France

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It is a building filled with art and creators! Need I say more!?

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Ok, fine,,, because there is an urge to do so. Let me preface this discussion in describing the experience akin to the journey Alice went through in a rabbit hole.

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Each corner in the space was like entering a creative sanctuary.

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As happenstance would have it, I found myself in this trip with Hannah Locsin who’s working her way through through the profession of modeling. We met at an event in Paris and hit it off. But, we may have really bonded when we shared the realities of our living conditions, that was a laughing matter.

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Was refreshing to go through Wonderland with another wonderer while wandering.

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There is much discomfort in a journey such as ours, but what I have come to learn is to enjoy the moment while respecting the process of growing pains.

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Ang sakit eh – rumamdam at umusbong. Grabe.

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To make the journey even more dynamic, we stepped into another artist’s corner who was inspired by her beauty.

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He even drew her to life.

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Then we continued to explore, with all eyes wide open – except for the two of our own.

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It came to be an exercise in empathy, personally speaking.

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The building on 59 Rivoli in the First Arrondissement of Paris, France is “Artist’s Squat.”

Model: Hannah Locsin (Women, Paris)
Photography: Ritz Marie

P.S.

Working on another article showing the people we met.
So, stay tuned.

As: Unique

The love I have for music could bring me to my knees. So, when the chance revealed itself, I became highly interested in the opportunity. Unique and I are of a different generation, so before I met him, I was pretty unfamiliar.

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My friends brought us together for the purpose of exploring our creativity. Then, something sparked.

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The creative spark was insane.

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When we work together, there is a trinity. A trinity of respect, trust and creativity to begin with.

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We respected each others’ talents and gained trust in each other to soar creatively.

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Most of you who are likely to read this probably know more about the drama that happened around Unique in social media. But let me share with you an insight: Tita Coco (his “Ma”) can so easily be painted as a villain because of her strong ways. One time, I pointed this out to them after Tita Coco said something I would not usually hear. It was really funny! I hope this society of “DRAMANILA” eventually subsides. Tao lang po lahat tayo. I can go on a rampage about all the drama that happens in Manila, but let’s not go there.

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Back to Unique. Where was I?

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It is my composing belief that life is made out of trinities.

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Witnessing the forces that work around, through and over me leaves me in a stupefied state sometimes. Everything that I have witnessed in my life lead me to undeniably believe that THERE IS A GOD. We all have our own processes and connect the dots differently. So, once again – respect nalang.

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There is just some force, that orchestrates some things that no matter what obstacle is set your way, the destination is inevitable.

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In the middle of a highly energized narration of my life during a conversation, a respected cardiologist (Dr. A), once told me,

“What you are doing is creating.”
I thought, “Yeah! Exactly!”
Then as I listened, he continued to say,,, “And creation is the activity of the gods.”

I was super M I N D B L O W N , you hear me!?
M-i-n-d-b-l-o-w-n.

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Grabe eh, as I write this listening to Unique, this line suddenly comes out of my speaker: “Sa labas man, o simbahan, kayang-kaya pag silbihan,,,” SO META!!! I just learned that term now, “meta.”

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I can gush over his talent, but give his album a listen and create your own judgement. GRANDMA (link opens to Spotify) is his first album. He is talented differently and I admire how he has embraced what he can do at such an early age – but with an old soul.

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Kwento ko lang, dahil sa kanya, I discovered the magic in the music of The Beatles. Fan boy rin kasi yan! Haha… Lahat tayo may tinitingalang mga tao, but remember to look beyond the person and deeper into the inspiration of the matter.

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AS Patrick Starrr

I must live under a rock of some sort, because when I was told Patrick Starrr would be on Preview Magazine’s last print cover, I had no clue about him. I’m saying this in the spirit of total honesty.  But walking into the Summit Studio this time, I sensed it was more special than the usual cover shoot.

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First of all, we had more space to work with, the clothes were nicely hung apart from each other and each piece was a statement – would expect nothing less from Marc Jacobs.

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It was the usual Preview staff.

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Patrick’s co-star for the cover was Alex Gonzaga.

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Took a portrait of Maui during the down time because I liked her statement gold eyeliner. Mind you, I usually come into these shoots bare-faced because I’m lazy like that. But I do appreciate the art of make up.

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Then when I walked in the pantry, there was a whole spread of food on the table, different from the usual. I thought, “What’s going on here?”

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Then Patrick’s team arrives first wearing MAC sponsored jackets with his name! At that point I was just to curious to see the person behind the Starrr.

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When I started shooting, I inserted myself in a few frames because I wanted a photo with him, I’m just not the type to ask frequently. I did however introduce myself as a photographer. I will not forget what he said, “Honey, make me look good – okay?” and I responded, “I’ve got your back.”

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Just being around his presence was so fun! I was having the time of my life until Maui whispered to me that Isha, the EIC, wanted to speak with me. I was shocked because I’m usually left doing my own thing and then I thought, did I do anything wrong? Because they really don’t usually call me, specially while I was having such fun documenting Patrick do his own make up! It honestly was super mesmerizing to watch. Anyway, so I went with Maui to the dressing room where Isha and the rest of the staff were.

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When I walked in, they were looking at me and Isha first apologizes and then asks “Would it be okay if you stood in as a model for Patrick?” I couldn’t quite get what she was asking. Let’s get real here.

People our size are greatly overlooked by M-A-N-Y or undervalued. I cannot even shop at a regular store without a “PLUS” line. I can go on a lengthy rant about this, but that’s not the focus here. I’m just saying, I’ve never felt the luxury of clothing before because of my size nor have had the chance to truly express my truth through my clothes, because the options are just so limited – specially in Manila. Patrick, if you ever read this, please consider starting your own clothing brand! Haha, why not?

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Anyway, back to me being a model. I was able to try on all the Marc Jacobs pieces Patrick wore during the cover shoot. But he – wore it with confidence. I was learning from a master.

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That pink coat was my favorite. I wanted to take it home with me.

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BJ shot a few frames then Alex came in with a bubbly disposition.

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It was a show to watch, because very few times in my existence have I witnessed a gay, plus-sized, Filipino outshine a pretty lady. I say this without offense to anyone, okay?

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Patrick moved like a supermodel! Like, super super model.

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Closest I’ve seen on video, but have yet to experience, that moves like that is Coco Rocha. “This Starrr!” I thought.

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Just look at him go. He gave attention to all the cameras in the room, and that’s not an easy task.

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At one point, he walked by my side of the studio to change shoes. I whispered to him, “Patrick you are absolutely inspiring.” Like, seriously. He said, “Thanks honey, what’s your name again?” I smiled and with a handshake, I replied, “Ritz.”

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A MAC representative from the New York office was part of his team. We got to talk, and she told me Patrick’s story. FYI, he has one of the biggest collaborations with MAC Cosmetics – second to Rhianna. What?! That’s amazing, I thought.

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He started as a make up artist for one of the MAC Cosmetics store in the US.

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Look at that SMIZE! Tyra would be proud.

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And unlike many other stars’ his spirit was that of inclusivity rather than exclusivity.

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They were an amazing duo. Alex is really really funny.

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That shoot was so fun, I’m glad some ladies encouraged me to write this story. I’m remembering everything through these photos, the feeling and all. It was good vibes all around.

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Team Starrr brings so much to the table. Just when I didn’t think I could be any more surprised by this individual, he transforms some more! Like Madonna.

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Grabe, ang inspiring niya talaga. I’m glad I got to tell him that in person.

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BOOM, right?

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SUPER SUPER MODEL – I tell you!

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Shot for Preview Magzine, photos by Ritz Marie.

As Ara

Ara and I have known each other for a few years now, but we only got the chance to have a session recently. I always thought photographing her would yield interesting results, and wow – was I correct to assume that! The beauty in this pinay is untapped. Just look at her. Grabe.

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Before the session started, she slightly hinted on what angles she was conscious about. I listened and took those into consideration. But when we started shooting, her being transformed infront of the camera. I began to love all her angles, so diverse.

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There is so much rawness in her beauty that the world has yet to see.

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Let me tell you, this pinay has not even started yet.

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I absolutely adore the beauty mark on her cheek. Beforehand, she told me she was conscious of her nose (that it had certain angles, etc.) and I just found that absurd because her nose is amazing, from my perspective at least. You see, in the Philippines, having a sharp nose is considered a beauty standard. It’s been so ingrained in our media that to have a sharp nose is beautiful that many, Ara included, question the beauty of this one part of their body.

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As the music changed, so did our moods.

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We exchanged stories and got to know each other more.

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She grew more beautiful as she revealed herself.

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The light transformed her angles as the sun set on our conversations.

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As in GRABE.

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Filipina beauty at its finest.

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As the day gave way to night, we continued to just be us – together.

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We exchanged marvels about this beauty of life.

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As we got deeper in the session, I saw how beautiful the blood of a Filipina is, and even I began to appreciate my own heritage beauty.

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“Ang ganda ng Pinay.” I thought to myself.

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More than the beauty of her physicality, the beauty of this being’s soul is awe-inspiring.

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As the night went on, I decided to share with her my journal.

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In her hands is the Journal of Lucid Dreaming. My journal. Me.

An interesting realization just happened. I realized that once I share this journal, I do not know what will happen. Pardon me as I ponder and type. You see, I poured so much of myself in that notebook and I’ve kept it private for a long time. It came to a sharing-point when I realized that the story is beautiful. I decided to self-publish my journal because I wanted to have full creative control of my actions. Felt good to finish the first edition of this project. More about my journal later on.

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Going back to Ara, she is such a stunning vision.

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In darkness and light, her beauty remains.

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Ariella Arida. What a name.

Ariella, sounds synonymous to the grace of water (in my own imagined vocabulary).

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Whatta muse. Grabe, ganda mo madam. Yun lang, the end.

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Model: Ara
Photographer: Ritz Marie

As Vanessa

As the music played and she moved, sitting in my mama’s wheelchair, I could feel my eyes water. For the first time in my life, in the middle of shooting, I found my self moved to tears. She was unafraid to be so raw.

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Unedited. Untouched like the first photo in this story, I will aim to write about this session with all realness, just to give justice to the moments that brought me where I am at present.

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She came in bare-faced, loaded with energy. We immediately got talking and I shared with her my vision for the shoot. A concept that goes along the lines of “imprisoned but free” – this thought just brought to mind a book I read for my philosophy class in university, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. Good read.

Vanessa and I found common ground in parallel feelings, we laughed about dark times and enjoyed ourselves in the present. Then I said something that surprised me, I directed her by saying, “Just be me.” I let her in my little world, and we captured it. This post could also be aptly named, “As Vanessa, As Ritz” because… Well, just read and watch the story unfold.

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There’s an old saying that goes something like the body is the prison of the soul. But I choose to see it from a different perspective, that the body is a shell for our soul. Have you ever marveled at the beauty of a simple shell? If you haven’t, try it out and just marvel at the flawless design of nature.

There were just those times when I felt like I was behind bars. Sometimes imagined, and sometimes real. But no matter where these pockets of prison were, the element that saved me was my imagination.

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Dreaming would soothe my spirit. I knew that the reality I faced, harsh as it may have been, was merely temporary. Though I had no idea how to get myself out of the situation, I trusted the universe to bring me to a much better place. Some may call these concepts, faith and hope.

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No matter what darkness I found (or lost) myself in, I would always hope for a better tomorrow. No matter what.

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When I would try to curve for a smile between my lips, I would feel my tear ducts swell. It was like my body was giving the world the honesty I could not accept.

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“Are you okay?” They asked.
I would stay silent and think, “Do you really care?”
Then they would look at me like I had a disability.

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It got to a point where I became exhausted just trying to explain myself. So for a few months, I became a hermit trying to find peace in my little shell of the world.

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As the winds of change swept through my existence, my self evolved.

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I felt a strange surge of strength. However, I questioned my ability to sustain that power. Then, I realized that the strongest people were once the most broken. I scrambled to find silver linings in the situations I found myself faced with.

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Time brought a certain sense of healing.

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Until one day, I found myself able to hear the beauty of sound again. I chose to embrace this profound experience of pain and listen patiently to the message it was trying to relay.

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Music became my sanctuary. Space, my guide.

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Though darkness still enveloped the horizon, I remained still.

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For it is only a matter of time when night gives way to the day.

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“Remain still.”
I constantly reminded myself.

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I remained in my little corner of the world.

With songs on repeat, I paused time and let me be me.

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Like a lunatic, I stared at the moon.

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Some may call it madness, while some may call it genius. I’d like to see it as a process. I just did what I know I had to in order for my joy to awakened.

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I set forth to create.

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Create a reality worth living.

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In my silence, I screamed.

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In speaking, I was silent.

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In destruction, I felt life.

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In darkness, I found light.

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In chaos, I found peace.

Then, I realized that everything led to me remembering my self. In so few words, let’s just say I found who I am in myself.

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I am different.

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In a place where everyone wants to be seemingly normal, it’s a challenge to be something else.

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But sometimes one just has to fuck with normalcy (pardon my well-used profanity) and embrace who they are, as they are.

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I embraced my trinity.

Model: Vanessa (Elite Manila)
Photographer: Ritz Marie