Letter From the Editor: February

As I flew out to the motherland a couple weeks ago and finally had a moment on that plane to breathe for the first real time in awhile, I reflected on the choices we make and the things (and people) we leave behind.

Exactly one year ago, I came out to the Philippines after leaving the entire life behind in New York that I had been building for almost a decade. My home, my career, my partner of five years; I picked up and walked away from them all. I felt lost, floating in a purgatory between my old reality and a completely unknown brand new one, a million questions and nothing clear except the deep inner knowing that I needed to completely start over. Was I gonna move to the Philippines or LA? Did I wanna work it out with dude? Did I want to settle on a farm, in a city, in a monastary? Did I really belong anywhere? I felt guilted by society’s assertion that making choices with only our own best interest in mind is selfish; guilty for breaking someone’s heart, guilty for taking a leap, guilty for leaving.

And then, I stopped apologizing and started coming back to myself. I danced. I meditated. I c r i e d. I protected my energy. I practiced celibacy. I stripped away layers of performativity. I unlearned. I remembered my power. My lower chakras uncoiled, my higher chakras sharpened. I summoned everything I wanted into my experience: community, creative opportunities, love, chosen family. Life started to fall into place, a life beyond anything I’d previously imagined was possible. I finally decided to really live for myself and, as trite as it might sound, that’s when I really started to find myself.

What does it really mean tho to find or come back to ourselves? I think about the concept of “motherland” or of returning to a point of origin, whether it’s literal, metaphysical, or otherwise. Is it letting go of years of societal conditioning? Does it lie in rediscovering our own bodies, tapping into our pleasure centers, finding things that bring us private joy? I can say from personal experience that the journey definitely isn’t on some feel good self help eat pray love type of fluffy bullshit. Sure, there’s moments of overwhelming beauty as the signs that you’re on the path become clearer and the dots in the vast multiverse start to connect but it’s like…a whole fucking thing tbh. How does one feel safe in a body that was never a safe space to begin with? How does one heal not only their own lived trauma, but also the generations of trauma that lurk in our blood and bones?

What’s pulled me through is the strength I find in kapwa and the understanding that we really are all interconnected - not just with sisters but increasingly with men I’m encountering who are also interested in equality, liberation, feminism; who want to shift the dynamic and relinquish a bit of the power they’ve been handed as some kind of birthright; who honor our shared divinity. It’s through these fated connections, at the intersections and in the intimacies, where I see the power for change. As we gather our tribe, our village, our global siblinghood, I start to see the possibilities of building a new world - together.

I write this on the Full Super Moon in Virgo, carrying with it themes of releasing patterns and repetitive thoughts, encouraging us to open our hearts and minds to something beyond our current reality. Remember, on the other side of that fear of taking the leap or making that “selfish” choice could be everything you’ve ever dreamed of - but it all starts from within. So let go of your conditioning, make love to yourself, find your tribe, embrace the wild unknown. Trust me, your life wants to fall into place. Let it.

<3 Steph


Thumbnail photo: @_samouflage | Models: @ellieposadas @beatrizjereza @letters668 | Stylist: @yunguava | Clothing @vintageoutlaw @store.may.ari

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