Over the years, I have grown reluctant of receiving gifts. It's not because I'm a cheap ass or because I'm awkward; quite frankly, it's just not that important. Reminding people that we care for them bears more weight when you act on it. Experiences are more often than not cherished more than a material gain. To me, gifts have often seemed like a manifestation of guilt or an apology... Perhaps it's just the context that I have seen them exchanged in.

When I was in high school, the ever-popular Valentine's Day brought a lot of controversy to my school. Materialism was exploited to the max! Every February 14th at Academia María Reina, the auditorium steadily begins filling up with gifts since 8 A.M. Throughout the day, parents, relatives, friends, lovers, and the like file into the school with lavish baskets of candy and plush toys. Girls would giggle during class because they were checking out some other girl's boyfriend that stuck post-its, balloons, and gifts on or inside her car. Dozens of boys would sneak into the school grounds to write on the Mercedes Benz of their 16 year-old girlfriends, a sight which often made me feel that they had been told to do it the night before. By 12 P.M., the auditorium was full to capacity and they had to begin calling the girls through the intercom to hand out the gifts. The expectation with which the girls stared at the intercom for their name to be called out was shocking.

I never understood why people need to remind others that they care about them on just one day of the week. What's the point of having friends if you're not really sure that they appreciate you? Doesn't there always need to be some sort of emotional connection that keeps us all synchronized to one another? Well, it's something that I have always had a little trouble wrapping my mind around.

When it comes to showing people that you care with little gestures during the year, I am often turned into an emotive mess. Little surprises that show people you care always highlights the fact that they care and think about you. Show people that you care when things are made for them especially. Some people already have everything they need, and something as simple as this could make a really big difference. Often times I would rather sponsor an artist with commissions. I may be creative, but there are some crafty artists out there that amaze me with what they can do! Gifts on commission have an extra special quality to them because of the fact someone picks out a specific product from a specific artist to breathe life into. Something that would otherwise not exist will be created tailored to the interests of the person receiving it. The gift is designed to delight someone you care for, so why not?

It doesn't matter if it's a card, drawing, ring, keychain, palace, toy, hoodie, sketchbook, or a set of tarot cards. The fast that someone takes the time to cater to your interests is a privilege.

I like to think myself lucky or blessed in this department. All of the gifts I have received in the last two years have been really thoughtful! The love that I have received from my friends overseas has been very humbling, it's crazy to see how affection can be manifested even from far away! To me, all of these items have a story. By extension, these stories breathe live into the items received. By employing the use of psychometry, I have been fortunate enough to use my psychic sense of intuition to feel the stories of these objects. It happens with pretty much anything that has energy invested in it.

This sketchbook journal was designed and carefully crafted as a 2011 Christmas gift for J. After days of fussing over designs and moments in which I had no idea if it would arrive on time, I started feeling excited. The amount of time that was put into the gesso application,  smoothing out the wrinkled paper, hand painting the patterns, layering everything, and finally putting the finish over it is palpable. So much care and attention has been placed into the book that it has had life breathed into it.

The sigil in the center is an attempt to portray our connection to each other in magic, romance, and friendship. It plays off our make-belief story as Bone King and Queen, which adds magic into our connection. J's expression when he got it was priceless! It makes me happy whenever he tells me that he has spent time admiring the sketchbook journal. He plans to turn it into a grimoire.

Now for a very special gift that I received. This was J's 1st year anniversary present to me on November 27, 2011. We had initially agreed that we wouldn't financially splurge on each other for this date, but I suppose that he couldn't hold up his end of the deal. On the day J surprised me with this, he had covered my eyes so that I couldn't tell what was going on. When I looked at the tin, I wasn't at all expecting that I got when I looked inside. There were two rings that fit together, one for him and one for me.

He drew the seal onto the tin with a herald shield that he designed just for us — which is a little quirky to have a family crest when we haven't started a family, but beautiful all the same — and I could feel the time he spent fussing over the material and how to break it in. These are our matching crowns, and we wear them with pride as a symbol of our love and commitment to each other.

Look around you. Can you spot anything of value whose story you can dream up?


  1. "Gifts on commission have an extra special quality to them because of the fact someone picks out a specific product from a specific artist to breathe life into."?

    Is that the distinct odor of a shameless plug I smell? :P

    I agree though. It's all about the thought put into a thing or an action that makes a standout impression on someone.

    Man... Maria Reina really does sound like a hedonist temple at times...

  2. Well, I didn't quite plug the artist in, but y'know!

    As for AMR, it is what it is... don't be too sore about it!