Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I usually stop saying Happy New Year after the first week of January is over but you all are an exception. But anyways, its definitely been awhile since I last posted since I wanted to focus on spending quality time with my family during the holidays. It was actually quite different since this year our celebrations are more on the intimate side than the usual packed apartment with visitors and food. The change was nice because it was a nice breather from the bustle of folks coming to visit.
Since last year’s festivities were on the intimate side, I had more time to just think and reflect upon the years past and the upcoming years ahead. Thoughts come rushing through my head as soon as I prepare to sleep so I end up staying up a little bit later to document everything in my journal. In order to explain how my reflection went, I can apply it to an analogy to make it easier to understand the context of what happened each year.
So, my birthday is in April and the birthstone associated to that month is a diamond. There is one aspect of a diamond that closely reflects to my personality: hardness. The diamond is well known for being the hardest natural material in the world according to the Vickers and Mohs hardness scale. Another fun fact is, only a diamond can cut another diamond. Hardness, in my personality, translates to stubbornness. Yes, I am very stubborn. Especially towards achieving or attaining anything I want. If I’m not ready to do something, I don’t make any sudden movements. When I’m ready to attack, I will do it with full speed ahead. The people I hold close to me know this very well and over time they have slowly and gradually accepted it. In addition, there are certain people that can butt heads with me at anytime and have a major influence to my decisions, specifically my dad. Coincidentally, his birthday is also in April and is on the day after mine.
And weirdly enough, I can relate to the process of how a diamond goes from its formation to refinement. So let’s begin on the journey of this diamond, aka my past self circa 2015…
2015 – Formation : In this year, the formation of the diamond begins. Its formation greatly depends on the extreme pressures and temperatures deep within the Earth. In order for the diamond to travel towards the surface, the diamond bearing rock is transported by deep volcanic eruptions. The magma in the volcanic pipes acts as an elevator that brings minerals, rocks, other fluids upward. Depending on where the diamond bearing rock ends up, that is were the mining begins.
I think it’s safe to say that I truly experienced extreme pressures and temperatures during this year since I entered my final semester as a senior architecture and planning student in college. All of the extreme conditions came from many factors, both exterior and interior influences, that contribute to who I am now. Additionally, I was buried way under so much work in studio and other courses that I couldn’t even see the hole up above. In the very end of my semester, I was gradually lifted out from the depths of my projects and exams and onto the surface to see the light, formally known as graduation. Shortly after graduating, I began to experience doubt on whether I really liked studying architecture or whether I wasted my 4 years only to end up stressed and slightly depressed after graduation. Essentially, just like a diamond waiting to be mined, I hoped to be found someday…more so I hoped to solidify what my calling in life was.
2016 – Discovery and Mining : Diamonds are typically mined: 50% from ground/mines/pipes, 48% from river banks/marine, and 2% from other environments. In order to get to the diamond bearing rock in mines, the mining and processing activities are continuous 24/7 operations. The mine ore gets crushed, scrubbed and ground to release the diamonds from the rock that they are found in. Only a small fraction of the diamond ore contains actual diamonds and it takes great care to crush ore that contains larger diamonds. Afterwards, the diamonds found are sorted by multiple phases of categories. The final categories are gem quality (jewelry), industrial quality (machines/tools, etc.), and other (diamond polishing).
In 2016, I decided to focus on taking a break and just figuring out what I truly wanted to do for the rest of my life. I began to take up many side projects that I didn’t get the chance to do when I was in college. Just like a diamond, I slowly chipped away anything dealing with architecture and focused on sorting the side projects I used to find great joy in doing such as art, writing, reading, filmography, etc. Even though I did chip away from architecture at that time, the thought of returning to it was always in the back of my mind. This thought will later define what category I will end up sorting myself into. I know I started hating it…but I didn’t want to hate it. Deep down inside, I just knew that I needed to just step away from it and later return when I’m ready to love it once more. I devoted myself to my side projects (hence, AmbushtheNight was revamped) and enriched my mind with everything and anything that brought me happiness. From there on out, I slowly realized I was ready to go back into architecture after developing a newer mindset and appreciation for all crafts and all things creative. I was ready to shine bright just like a gem quality diamond.
2017 – The Diamond and the Cutter : Soon after the diamond has been sorted, cutting the diamond consists of multiple steps since diamonds are extremely hard and brittle. Close care and delicate procedures must be met since the diamond can be split up by a single blow. The main goal is to create a faceted jewel that contains specific angle cuts in order to optimize its luster. Most diamonds, however, contain crystal flaws and the cutter has to decide which flaws are removed or kept.
This year has just started but having an open mind to whatever comes before me allows me to accept everything and everyone for what they are and just to practice resisting less with life’s waves. Just like an experienced cutter, having a clear mind and taking initiative towards my passion are the strategic cuts the cutter creates in order to enhance the diamond’s luster. I know for sure at this very moment that I am going to go full speed ahead with my goals and dreams and lay its foundation. However, I also know that one misstep can set me back to square one in relation to how delicate care must be sought when dealing with cutting diamonds. In my past self, I still remember being taken aback, discouraged, and unmotivated by all the negative and stressful things that life places in front of me. But looking back now, those times were only moments of creation of the diamond–the extreme temperatures and pressures–that will transform me into a gem quality diamond today.
Now, I hope you all are able to see the process behind the final product. The journey in getting to the destination, if there ever is a final destination, is long and grueling but it is the most rewarding experience thus far. I look forward to taking on the year of 2017 and refining the cuts, improving the flaws, and maybe accepting some in order to be the best version of myself. By December 31st, I hope to say…no, I will say, “You’ve done your best this year. Let’s go on to the next one.” I hope this post can inspire you all in some way to take on this year and be the best version of yourselves and…cue Rihanna:
“Shine bright like a diamond”