The Crazy in February: Flying to the Philippines

In the tropics.

In the tropics.

To understand why I journeyed to the Philippines, I have to tell you about the very special friendship I have with Noelle Grace Pico. We ran across each other online several years ago, when I had just started high school.  It started out quite simply as a fandom thing. We both loved X-men and she fell for some of my graphics. We shared our original character concepts with each other. She introduced me to Hana Kimi and other comic/manga love. We were there for each other during the hard times, both creatively and emotionally. I wrote a song in 2007 and she put it to music. She fell in love with my characters and I fell in love with her music. We managed to find each other in the mass chaos that is the internet. Anything writing related, she is one of the first people I go to with it. She’s the one friend I have who understands what it’s like to be a creator in my chosen medium, and I can’t begin to express how priceless that kind of relationship is. I never worry about Noey ever misunderstanding my meaning, and that’s a quality that is hard to come by these days.

Before I left for Korea, Noey penned Salisi. We were talking about our desires to “make it” in our respective creative fields. Her in music, and me in the writing world. What followed is what I like to call “Creators”…

December 7, 2011

… I love that song. LOVE love love it. It’s raw and real and speaks. It’s honest. And that’s why you’re so good at what you do. And I think we sometimes have the same problem with trying to do what we dream of doing. When nothing seems like it can be new, we know we can’t reinvent the wheel, but we still want to try. Maybe not so much to change the thing itself, but to share how we perceive it. And that can be a scary thing. I don’t like to admit that that’s sometimes the reason I don’t write constantly, but it’s there.

How do we do that?

Willpower and guts and tears and disappointment. Exposing yourself and what you hold closest to you to critique and ridicule that is not about you but about pleasing the masses. And sometimes we’re not sure if we can live with that. If we can somehow manage to let go of what is sacred to us and share it with more than our friends.

And oddly enough, the universe is gracious to push us to those limits without us even realizing we can do it. It’s a giving thing, and if we give ourselves over to it, we somehow end up happier than when we started. The fear of rejection of what we prize most about ourselves is the most potent thing for someone who creates. And anyone who is any good and has found their success has overcome it, lives with it, feels it every time, but takes the leap anyway. It’s a perceived risk, as real as it may seem. And ultimately, we’re the ones who hold ourselves back because something tells us we have to be sane, have to be logical, have to know that we’re not the next big thing because we haven’t made it yet. But Spock can lie, can laugh, can be human. So why can’t we?

Every failure or perceived failure shapes us, makes us better, makes us stronger. It’s taking that next step that’s hard. How many more times? How many more times can we handle it? As many as it takes. It’s like taking that first step onto an invisible bridge, the fear, the rush, the HOLY SHIT WHAT IF I DIE step and somehow finding out you’re not only standing, but you can walk, run, and keep going. That there will always be someone there in encouraging you, believing in you, telling you that everything happens for a reason and this moment, this one moment, defines the next step you take or don’t.

And more often than not, that someone is you.

I knew that I would have to figure out a way to meet up with her in person during my year in Korea. First it was going to be for Christmas, but we decided it would be better for me to fly out for Lunar New Year. Noey is the first close internet friend I have met in real life, and it felt as natural as talking to my best friends I’ve known for years as soon as I saw her. It wasn’t awkward or weird, but a little overwhelming greeting and hugging each other at the airport, seeing one another in person for the first time.

Fandom Friends


The Pico family were wonderful hosts during my stay with them, considerate and accommodating. Noey’s family of friends were my kind of people, and I wish I could’ve spent more time with them all. Our visit was short but worthwhile, with new memories to add to our friendship and a day of fun in the sun.