Past Lives

I’ve walked passed this quote a couple of times before finally snapping a photo. Everytime I walked passed it and read it in my head, my mind would wonder. What does this mean? What is this for? All I knew was that it made me think for interpretations, and it sounded deep. You know me, always trying to find meaning and the bigger picture in things. I told myself that I would take a picture of it when I finally came to a conclusion on what I thought it meant. After walking past it many times, and still not really knowing, I snapped a picture anyways.

I started thinking of the quote in its literal sense. “Past lives.” That has always been something I’ve wondered about. I grew up Catholic, raised to believe in a Heaven and a Hell. But I feel like I believe in a mix of different beliefs from different cultures and religions. The thought of having “past lives” has always been intriguing to me. And I believe it to an extent, but simultaneously believing in an afterlife. Which I don’t know how both could be achieved at the same time but I still believe in both. Not necessarily a “Heaven,” like I was taught to believe, but an afterlife in some shape or form.

I grew up on the Montel Williams show – don’t even ask why I was in 2nd grade watching that grown up shit when I should’ve been watching cartoons – I guess I’m an old soul. Anyways, a guest he would have once a week on his show was psychic, Sylvia Browne. She claimed to have psychic abilities that helped her talk to people that have passed, could tell the future, was super into astrology, and all this stuff that I’m totally into. You know, the stuff that’s highly debated, and it’s either a hard yes you believe in it, or no, that’s a load of garbage. I believed, and I was such a fan of her readings. There was one time where Sylvia read a person in the audience, and said in a past life, they were shot and killed in war. Sylvia told the audience member that their birthmark is where they got shot. I thought that was amazing – how a detail from a past life could be reborn into the next lifetime.

If past lives really exist, I find myself thinking of what my past lives were like. On some Avatar the Last Airbender shit, I think about what burdens and downfalls my past selves have been through, and how I’m trying to redeem myself in this lifetime. If pastlives are a thing, I wonder what I was like. What are the similarities? What are the differences? What were my stories? Watching Avatar the Last Airbender, and seeing Aang connect with his past lives made me want to learn more on the subject. I know it’s a cartoon, but Aang had to understand his past and their past struggles to understand how to go about things in this lifetime. It explained his grief, guilt, and motivation to save the world. I wonder what I’m trying to achieve in this lifetime.

Sometimes I believe that reincarnation is another way of finding peace, and until you reach that peace, you will keep being reborn into the next life. I don’t know, I have a lot of theories. And I am content and cool with knowing that I don’t know everything. The goal of being at peace and coming to terms with oneself is a theme that I don’t take lightly. People carry around so much emotional baggage, whether that be guilt, trauma, anger, pride, the list goes on. A huge part of me believes that whatever you don’t come to terms with or make peace with in this lifetime, you’ll repeat in the next life until you deal with those emotions and resolve whatever it is that is keeping you earthbound.

Another theory I have is that there is no Heaven or Hell. Those that have passed on are still “around,” and roam as they please. But those that did not make peace with their demons are earthbound and repeating either their death, or whatever it is that they can’t move on from, until they can let go and come to terms. I’ve watched a lot of ghost stories on TV, and it seems like the people that have passed on and are “haunting” an area or person and don’t mean harm, are just really lost souls who need help getting to the “other side.” It’s crazy to think of that scenario – that unfinished business in your lifetime can follow you and restrict you from an afterlife.

If I’m being totally honest, I don’t really know what I believe more than the other. If people can really find each other through multiple lifetimes, that’s a beautiful thing. You know when you just click with someone and feel like you’ve known them for a while but you just met? But who can really know. All I know is that if past lives really exist, I hope I’m lucky enough to find people I love and connect with in this lifetime in the next lifetime. All this pastlife talk was the first thing that came to mind when I was trying to find the meaning of this quote. But then I thought harder.

Past lives doesn’t always have to be dying. It can be the life you used to live, but now don’t. We go through different stages in life, and some characteristics remain the same, but other times we leave completely different people. Like people who have had addiction problems but now live a completely clean life, people who used to be players but suddenly settled down, people that thought negatively but switched their inner voice to only speak peace, etc. “Last night was the last night of my past life.” That speaks volumes.

It reminds me of the story I posted about my weight gain and body positivity journey. There was a breaking point in my journalism night class where I told myself, “Enough. I can’t live like this anymore. I can’t go my whole life hating the body I’m in.” That night was the last night of my past life. I left behind a part of my life that was dark, negative, and self-loathing. A lot of people feel this way during nasty break ups and toxic relationships. I’ve had my fair share of trash people enter my life. But the moment I said enough and closed that chapter, I knew that life wasn’t for me anymore.

I’ve been the listening ears to so many friends that let people from their past mess up the current life they have worked hard to build. I’ve also been there and done that – with friendships, relationships, sometimes even with family. I’ve learned that it’s okay to let some people stay in your past. And no, them hitting you up doesn’t mean it’s a sign haha. But for real, when you see patterns in people, situations, and attitudes – and you finally realize you don’t want to be a part of that – let it go gracefully and carry on. Letting stuff go and letting things stay in the past can be very emotional and sometimes even traumatic. But I feel like there’s so much inner peace that comes with deciding to move forward and let the past become the past.

Sometimes our past can haunt us. I know I felt that way for certain situations – where I felt like what I went through defined who I was as a person. I felt as if my past would drag me down, and the negative I’ve experienced was my story. But fuck that. My story is forever changing. Your past doesn’t define you. It helped shape you into who you are, but what you were doesn’t have to follow you into the new life you want to live. Sometimes I even refer to the past me as “me in another life” because sometimes it really does feel like a whole lifetime ago. You step back and you see how far you’ve grown. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not, but that’s when you need to take accountability and self-reflect on what parts of you needs healing.

Anthony’s Decision to Pursue Music

Aspiring singer and songwriter, Anthony Regala, is determined to make it in the music industry. Though, it took him a while to make the solid decision to pursue singing, Anthony is sure this is the path he was meant to take.

Anthony is no stranger to performing. In fact, he grew up dancing infront of his family. Dance was his first love. And dancing was actually the gateway to him discovering the singing world. Anthony was inspired by the music videos he would watch of Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, and Destiny’s Child. His family always encouraged him to perform and hyped him up everytime he put on a show at parties.

Anthony was introduced to singing in the 2nd grade. His 2nd grade teacher started a choir group, and he was all for it. They sang karaoke, practiced after school, and got to see their practice pay off when they would perform at AT&T park and The Symphony. Anthony’s mom saw how enthusiastic he was about singing, so she enrolled him in voice lessons.

The first 2 years of high school, Anthony put singing and dancing to the side. That little break from his passions made his comeback that much stronger. His last two years of high school, Anthony signed up for theater and choir. The auditions he went through were exhilarating, and he found his way back to his passions once again. He sang his first solo performance, The Christmas Song, during Westmoor high school’s winter concert.

Anthony recalls one weekend where all his friends were busy, and he was looking for something to do. He decided to go to this mountain near his neighborhood, Bayshore. He took with him a pen and notebook, and it was there on a mountaintop that he wrote his first song. It was a random song about clouds, but Anthony knew that at that moment he had sparked an interest in song writing.

High school ended, and ususally most have college in mind. Anthony knew from the beginning that he wanted to pursue music, so he didn’t really care to take general education classes – or any classes for that matter – that didn’t have to do with music. Friends encouraged him to take at least general education classes, but Anthony felt like there was no need. He was content with his music classes, and still believes it was the right choice for him at the time.

Anthony admits that the first year of college was the most discouraging. He started seeing musicians and artists he knew pursue different career paths. When he would meet other musicians and singers, they would share that they’ve been told that music is not a “realistic” job. He started to see fellow musicians and peers having “back up plans.” He admits that this was very discouraging, to see talented musicians and artists put their dreams to the side for more “realistic” plans. It made him doubt himself because he saw people he looked up to take on different career paths.

“The first years of community college were crucial because I knew every choice would affect my future,” he said. “I went into it knowing what I wanted. If I didn’t make a decision, I knew that later down the line I would have to.”

This made Anthony doubt his career choices, and he declared “Sociology” his major in school. All the pressure and stress started to stack up, and he found himself overwhelmed and confused. He admits that he didn’t take high school too seriously, so college is where he had to push himself. He felt like he had to make a decision, and fast. The time was ticking, what was he going to make of himself?

“During this time I broke down, it was my cry out to God,” Anthony explained. ” ‘What am I gonna with this life?’ I went to the back room in my house, went on my knees, put my head on our little couch and just cried. Was I just in my head? During this, visions came to me of my previous performances all throughout my life. It was encouraging because right then is when I knew God was going use this gift He blessed me with. I didn’t know full picture of what would be, but that was when I decided I am going to do music. Even though I had no clue how I would do it.”

His mom was in full support. He jokes that it’s because she didn’t want the voice lessons she paid for to go to waste. Anthony’s dad supported his decision to go forward with music as a career and let him be. His family in general was very supportive and encouraged him to put himself out there as an artist. They’ve always pushed him to perform whether that be for the family or an audience.

However, Anthony did sense that his mom was a little worried about his career choice. The questions she would ask him regarding his plans pursuing music gave him a hunch that she was uneasy over the fact that it’s not a traditional career path. Her support was definitely there, but so was her mother instinct to worry.

“To be honest, I think this is where representation comes in,” Anthony says. “If parents saw more Filipinos in music, then they would not worry so much.”

Right now, Anthony is focused on building his following. He released his first song, “I’m Mine,” on Soundcloud, quickly released it on Spotify, then other streaming services. His goal was to gain traction, to get listeners to be invested in him as an artist, but also as him as a person. He used to post his covers on Instagram, and that would be that. Now Anthony is conscious to what he puts out there as an artist, and is starting to post things that show his personality. For example, he’s starting to share more on a stories, just so his followers and listeners get a feel of what kind of person he is.

“It could be easy for some artists to just tell people there song is coming out, release it, and a lot of people listen to it,” Anthony explained when I asked how does he try to promote his content. “Yes I have those people and I appreciate all of them, but getting my music to more ears has been an interesting challenge. There’s getting my song on playlists, which I’ve been able to do. However, getting on popular playlists has not happened yet and its a challenge for a lot of us artists. I’ve also learned there are so many ways to promote yourself, you just have to find what works.”

Anthony is trying to get out there, and has had a couple performances. He has had 2 showcases at Neck of the Woods, and occassionally performs there on Wednesdays for their open mics. He has definitely pushed himself out of his comfort zone. He recently started going to an open mic at San Francisco State. Anthony adds that he is always down to connect, so if you see him around campus or at an open mic, say whatsup.

He receives some money from streaming, but for now, catch him at the Museum of Ice Cream SF, and ask for Honey LavAnthony to serenade you via song! He knows one day that he will be able to provide for himself off his music alone. LA has been on his mind for a hot minute. But for now Anthony is trying to get the most out of San Francisco / the Bay Area (and save that money, honeyyyy).

Music is so important to Anthony because he feels like he can reach people. He wants his listeners to know that they are loved, and made like nobody else. To all the people that feel like they are unloved / don’t have a purpose, Anthony is trying reach you through song. He wants people to believe that “anything is truly possible.”

What’s Anthony’s word of advice to anyone out there chasing an “unrealistic” dream?

“Be a go getter, but with patience. There’s a purpose to it all.”