Trigger warning: This article mentions self-harm and suicide.
ICYMI, Gwy Saludes’ upcoming collaboration with Tala By Kyla was canceled earlier this month after drawing mixed reactions from netizens. One of the designs from the unreleased collection used the line “to be one with the stars,” which also happens to be a controversial quote from Gwy’s “Avenues of the Diamond” book on Wattpad.
When fans pointed out that the line came with self-harm connotations, Tala By Kyla released a statement to cancel the release and apologize for the oversight. A few days later, Gwy also uploaded an hour-long video on YouTube to address the recent issue.
“The phrase was mine first,” Gwy clarified, adding that the quote was even on her social media bio previously. “For me, it meant that I want to be one with the stars, meaning that I want to achieve my dreams and shine, you know?”
“I wanted to be known kasi when you look at the stars, everyone could see when you look up. So that’s what I wanted to be,” she explained. Apparently, the meaning of the line soon changed when she started struggling with her mental health two years ago: “It was my motivational phrase for myself until that light started to harm me or hurt me. So during 2020, the meaning changed for me.”
Gwy further clarified that she incorporated this line into her University Series because she saw herself in her characters. “I’ve also put how the meaning changed for me in AOTD. Naomi’s line was, ‘To be one of the stars.’ And then Sam’s was, ‘To be one with the stars,’’’ she said. “During that time, I would always look up if there’s a night sky. I would just think that maybe there’s no pain there. Maybe if I do this, I won’t feel pain anymore. The meaning changed to really wanting to just escape what I was going through or the pain that I was feeling at that moment.”
After a while, she finally began to heal and “reclaim” that phrase again—both in real life and in her writing. “I healed slowly from writing a character that was like pushing me to move forward. Sam was the one who said that night [that] Naomi became one with the stars. At that moment, when I wrote it, honestly I couldn’t differentiate the two,” she divulged.
“But after that chapter, I think it was Sam’s line, she said that, ‘You can be one of the stars without being taken away.’ So that I started reclaiming my phrase,” she added.
Gwy then explained that her collaboration with Tala By Kyla was based on her personal experiences, not her fictional books. Still, she acknowledged the misunderstanding and promised to learn from it.
“It’s not going to be the same with other people, and you know I understand that. It had different personal meaning to me but I never explained that to anyone before,” she shared. “I wasn’t really thinking of University Series at that time. Although it was really there so I get where people are coming from and I’m really apologetic for it.”
She added, “I just want to apologize to the people. I really didn’t mean for it to be like that but the damage has been done, and I’m just gonna grow from it and learn from what happened.”
Aside from that, Gwy also responded to criticism about romanticizing a “toxic” relationship in another Wattpad book called “Our Yesterday’s Escape.” “My relationship will affect the way I write. For example, during Assault Series, I had a problematic view of how relationships work because at that time I was in a relationship that was toxic,” she said.
According to Gwy, it was only when she read her book again recently that she realized how “problematic” some parts were. “There were really a lot of parts that were problematic. For example, ‘Bawal ka magsuot ng ganyan.’ Or lagi silang nag-aaway talaga. At that time, my relationship was like that and my view was like, ‘Oh, that’s normal,’” Gwy revealed.
That said, she also acknowledged that different authors have different writing styles in the same way that various readers share various interpretations. “I also get where people are coming from because of course, if someone doesn’t have the same experience in the past, of course they should have flaws. But I just think that we all have different perspectives on their flaws,” she stated. “Those things inspire me but don’t assume that I’m using all of my experiences [and] that I’m putting them in one book.”
You can watch Gwy's full video here: