I’ve never met anyone quite like her. That doesn’t exactly hold much weight coming from me. I once preferred to stay hidden from the world. Social isolation. Social exile. I walked a separate dusty path from people. And it was dark in this path. Why do you think this blog’s name is “Notes From The Shadows?”

In my introversion, as a means to cope with the shadows, I come up with fictional characters for stories I’ve both put down on digital paper and in my mind. Characters based on people I’ve met, people I’ve seen on the streets. People I’ve read about in books, people I’ve seen on TV shows and movies. And even compared to them, she’s still a cut above the rest.

 

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She almost seems unreal. Like an imagined character composed of the best attributes plucked here and there from the best of the best. Her always sunny disposition provides restitute from the darkest of days. Those around her would agree to that. Even when she herself is on a dark day, she always sees that ray of light in the horizon, never stuck in the muddy waters. Always moving. Never standing still.

It’s her optimism, her life that’s lived in technicolor, that is one of the things that I am grateful for this year. I gave her a gift on her birthday. A framed photo of her from when I first documented her recording session, along with a handwritten letter – something that I haven’t done in years. In the letter, I expressed my gratitude for her color and how it positively affects my depression. In a way, her music and her overall being became an anti-depressant. I had to let her know that. I had to show my gratitude.

 

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Truth be told, however, I don’t know her that well. All that’s known to me are from anecdotes passed on by those who know her, observations from the times I documented her recording process and live gigs, trivial information that’s readily available on the Internet, and first hand encounters with her where I fumble like a complete idiot. My social ineptitude increases when I’m around her. It’s like I’m still adjusting to the light, to the color, as I’ve lived my whole existence in black, white, and the various shades of gray. I had once wished that I knew her well. God knows I need more positivity in my life. But it’s better off this way, that the mythical creature known as Reese Lansangan, a cross between a rainbow striped unicorn and a being made of pure light, stays as a legend. As an inspiration to those who need to be inspired, to those who need guidance in whatever form of darkness they’re in. A beacon in a sea of shadows.

On December 6, 2015, the aforementioned beacon celebrated the release of her much anticipated labor of love. Her debut album, Arigato, Internet! was finally brought out to the world at the Green Sun Hotel in Makati City. Both longtime and new fans, all upwards of 500 of them, flocked to the hotel’s event space where it was even extended to accommodate more people coming in. Some weren’t allowed in anymore as the space available was then declared ‘over capacity’ already. That is evidence to the phenomenon I refer to as “The Gravitational Pull of Reese Lansangan.”

 

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Reese’s fans, friends, and family, came from all over the Metro and the provinces just to be one with whom some referred to in jest as the debutante. At times, it did feel like it was Reese’s coming out party. It was, after all, the release of years’ worth of heartache and tears, fascinations with astronomy, and strict predilections for the correct usage of the English language as a solo singer-songwriter slash poet laureate for young Hashtagged Millenials.

Despite Reese’s perceived perfection, despite all the remarkable accomplishments and achievements, I do consider her an anomaly. Singer-songwriter. Fashion designer. Inspirational speaker. Arts & Crafts connoisseur. Visual artist. Indie It Girl. All these are titles she can righteously claim. But I have often wondered how one person can pursue that many passions. Most people have a hard time balancing two things at once. What more all the stated ones. In the case of Reese Lansangan, I have theorized that it all boils down to one thing: love.

 

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It’s her untainted love for what she does, what she’s decidedly interested in. She gives it an excessive amount of her love. That, I believe, is what separates her from most of us. She’s got so much – too much – blinding love in her blessed little heart that the radiance from within her transfers to whatever she touches. Or to whoever she touches.

That Sunday, the day she launched her album, was the day that those who came to that events space to celebrate with her walked out of there better persons than when they walked in.

I know I did.

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