"What's Next?"

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Writing/thoughts/opinions are my own.


President Bartlet: When I ask 'What's Next?' it means I'm ready to move on to other things. So, what's next?
-The West Wing


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    I know I have let writing fall by the wayside for a few reasons:

    1. I have been caught up in only writing longer pieces I feel ready to try and perfect. Better quality, but hurts quantity/creativity perhaps.
    2. I am trying to be better at the listening part of my job, as well as the listening part of my life. This means that (I think?) I’ve become much more quiet.
    3. Cheesy and disgusting, but most of the things in my head that I used to write about my boyfriend or friends out here will humor me and listen to. While my life is far from perfect, it is far from angsty and anxiety-inducing. Being with someone consistently has made me better and expressing my feelings outloud. Better for my heart, but takes away some of the desire to write.

    So, here are a few things going on in my life, fairly stream of conscious-y:

    • I missed church this Sunday because I got day-drunk while watching the NFL game. This is both embarrassing (I mean, I wasn’t stupid drunk, but I’m 26, darnit. Get it together!) and NOT what I wanted to do this year. I feel pretty guilty. I’m trying to pray on it. I don’t want to lose what was a deep relationship with Him over winter break just because I’m home and there are lots of distractions.
    • My new apt (moved in Oct) is very loud at night due to passing motor bikes. This isn’t normally an issue. I’m a heavy sleeper, and I spend most nights at my BF’s and work here during the day, but still, I worry I made a bad choice moving here. Still, I love the location and that I can walk anywhere I need to most days.
    • My whole body is sore. I did the Spartan workout day yesterday and ran today. Ouch. That said, it’s nice to be back at a place where I can’t imagine not working out in some way on a particular day. I’m also happier than I’ve been with my body in a while. I’m scared of gaining the weight back, and frustrated that this terror keeps popping up whenever I eat.
    • I love my new job a whole lot. I’m very scared I’m not doing enough or not very good. Still, I often can’t believe I get to have this much pleasure and get paid to do it. I am very blessed.
    • I love my family a whole lot and I miss them. There is also extreme joy and relief in being alone and not speaking to anyone for the past 4 hours. I wish I could find a better balance about this that didn’t leave me feeling guilty.
    • See above, but make it about my friends. Today Shuhei commented “You’re so good at making friends!”. I told him “only on the internet.” It’s true and not. I love people, I just feel the need to control how much I see them. After a few hours, I’m just looking for an out so I can go be alone. Is this anxiety or introversion? I’m scared that I can’t tell the difference.
    • I love my boyfriend a lot. He is pretty much the best. This is both awesome and terrifying. I’m scared that this kind of happiness is fleeting. I’m scared he’s going to leave. 
    • I miss doing yoga, but can’t afford it on top of everything else. I also love the power I feel running and doing MMA. I hope all that money I spent on  Yoga Teacher Training isn’t a waste. I have to trust in God that I was moved to do it for a reason, and its use through me will come in His time.
    • I got out all the things above that make me scared or upset because, in spite of them all, I’m completely happy (I was going to write “terribly happy,” but that made little sense/was contradictory/I am concerned it’s subconscious but I don’t think it is). I am so in love with my life right now. I suppose, like anything you’re in love with when you have anxiety, it’s always a balancing act. There’s the love and the intense fear that love will go away. I hope it doesn’t. Sometimes, when I’m falling asleep as PJ rubs my belly, or hanging out with a girlfriend, or running and stop and see how beautiful Diamondhead is, I just swell up with so much light and joy I want to just laugh and laugh. Not in a mean way or at anything, but just in complete gratitude and exaltation for how wonderful things can be. I just feel so blessed, and so full of thankfulness for God’s blessings. 

    To no one’s surprise, I like reflecting. A lot. And making goals. I have a problem. 

    2014 is hot on my heels, and I keep having these big plans for posts I want to write. About finding joy and redemption in Christ’s love. About my family being amazing and teaching me to be weird. About how lucky I am to have so much love in my life.

    For now, a top 5:

    2013 Biggest Moments (in no order)

    1. Got dream job while getting to stay close to job I love already.
    2. Lost my beautiful auntie and beloved abuelo. Both stay close in my heart, guide my footsteps, fill me with love.
    3. Had oh so many family adventures, including my parents getting a house in Kona!
    4. Met great guy, fell in love, surprised myself at how worthwhile it is to trust him and trust Him
    5. Continued to find beauty, love, joy in my friendships and relationships, esp the one with God.

    Other big things? Performed slam poetry, started (and loved!) MMA training, got my RYT 200 yoga certification, started digging deep into issues of race and class, saw another beautiful friend get married, just… God. I just feel so lucky.

    So, what’s 2014?

    Little things, sure: run my first marathon (#5 and up total!) in yearsspend more time with friendscontinue to deepen relationship with Christ, actually learn to surf, eat better, etc.

    Mostly though: Joy. Always find JOY.

    Here’s to 2014. Joyously. 

    Hands. #love #ohana @bethsypooh

    #tbt me and Mama. Of course Paco is trying to steal my spotlight #storyofmylife

    Showing “Lilo & Stitch” to my parents for the 1st time while we decorate the tree. #melekalikimaka #Christmas

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    Memory is a funny thing.

    My grandfather passed away last Sunday. It’s been pretty hard. After the all-too-soon death of my aunt this past April, ending 2013 with another passing is just a lot.

    I haven’t known how to feel the past week.We were fortunate enough to know what was happening earlier in the week, so I was able to get on the phone with him and say goodbye while he was still really lucid. I’m really happy I got to hear him say my name one last time.

    Still, while that is what makes me feel much better, it also ripped my heart in half. Like I wrote last April, I don’t handle grief with any consistency. One minute, I am ok— calm, even— and in belief that things will inevitably be ok. The next, I am doubled-over, ugly-crying in pain and frustration and anger at the whole world. I had felt fine when I started writing this post, for example, but I heard my grandmother called me while I was writing and I’ve spent the past 10 minutes sobbing, “pero, se extraño.”

    "Yo sé, todos se extrañamos, pero voy a ser fuerte contigo.

    So there’s the woman who lost her husband, my abuela, comforting me. Love, it seems, is always fully of limitless strength and always surprising.

    Any way, while there is love and strength, with grief always comes all of its stages. The anger is the worst part (though, fortunately, the most fleeting). I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know what exactly I’m angry at. I spent much of the past 6 years being incredibly angry at God, and I know that will probably get me nowhere. God is there for strength, love, tough questions, but when I want to rail at the unfairness of things, He has nothing but quiet patience and understanding— this is just the way things are, and His will or my confusion really aren’t the major players here.

    Frankly, I was angry at the nature of life itself. By Wednesday of this past week, I was just mad at how fucking temporary it all is. At some point, everyone I love is going to leave. They’re either going to leave me or die. So why the fuck bother with anything?

    Despite my faith, despite long nights of reading and prayer, despite a loving family and caring, understanding friends and coworkers, and PJ (who has been a saint in dealing with my pretty erratic mood swings that sometimes manifest as unnecessary anger at him before I start weeping, which is totally attractive), I hadn’t really shaken that question until today. If everything I love and enjoy is eventually going to end… this fucking sucks, I thought, and I’m mad I have to even be part of this charade. What’s even left? I angrily questioned God. If you are solitary, no one even knows you’re gone. If you had a lot of love, you just leave a lot of people really sad that you’re gone. WHAT IS THE POINT OF ALL OF THIS ANYWAY THEN?

    Ya. I was in a place.

    On the flight out here, I was randomly watching whatever short film Hawaiian air puts on. I don’t remember what it was about, but as if God was answering my frustrations, this phrase stuck out (paraphrased):

    There are some times when we go to a place and, we don’t know why, but it speaks to us. We know yes, this feels good. We don’t have to know why. When this happens, we call it “ancestral memory.” When you feel it, you know somewhere, one of your grandparents is telling you this is what you need.

    She didn’t say “aunt” or “uncle” or anything else. As if meant for me, the quote hung there, letting me marvel at it for a second. 

    I don’t necessarily have a lot of specific memories of my grandfather. I mean, I DO, but everything in my family’s history is so weaved together it’s hard to tell what are my memories and what has been embellished with the shared stories of my parents, brother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I know my grandfather made me laugh a lot. I remember, once, when he sat me down at my aunt’s dining room table and gave me a book of Mexican folklore and spoke to me about history. I don’t remember the specifics, but I remember the feeling of warmth and sanctity, of thinking this is an important moment for me to remember.

    When I heard that quote, and in looking up photos when I got home, I realized that what I knew deep in my heart, in my DNA, in my ancestral memory, in my na’au, is that my grandfather loved me. He loved all of us, a lot. Even if the colors are faded in those experiences with him, the feeling of love, caring, joy— that always remains deeply embedded in us.

    Appropriate, then, that this week is gaudete Sunday, a day of seeking joy in our lives. It seems like it might be hard to find joy in this weekend, and it might— in the secular sense. Fr. Martin, S.J. though, recently published a great reminder about the Christian idea of joy:

    Joy has an object and that object is God. The ultimate response to the good news is joy, one that is lasting and can endure even in the midst of difficulties.

    While my grandfather is no longer with us, the lasting effect of his existence— the creation of my large, extended family, his thirst for knowledge, his quiet thoughtfulness, the fact that he is always present in my childhood memories when I think about “family,” and “love,”— that is the type of joy that lasts beyond the sadness of losing him. THAT is what we give to others by being here, despite our temporary existence in this form. The human connection to share love with others is transforming for those who give and those who receive.

    So, perhaps that is my grandfather’s most recent gift to me. In his passing, he forced me to face the anger I’ve held onto all year and choose to let it go. He forced me to rip my heart open and grieve before using that pain as a reminder of how strong we all are. Now, he watches, and gives his wistful half-smile reminding me: Mija, no te preocupes. Nothing ends. There is always love.

    Te extraño mucho, abuelo, y te amo siempre.

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    Mama @bethsypooh and Dad requested a first-#Kona-night-shot. Excited to be the first Torres to stay here!

    Conversations with my brother and I

    In #filipino culture, we wear circles and hold round fruit to signify prosperity. We also turned on all the lights and washed the old year off the front stoop. This may be my fave photo ever. Only thing missing is papa.

    From my family to yours: Happy New Year!

    My big brother received a Senate resolution for his fellowship! He was and and super awesome.

    Apparently, it’s national sibling day. I’m sad I found out so late, but that’s cool. I’ve definitely spent some time talking about why my parents are the bomb. My brother definitely deserves a post. So, with the 30 10 minutes left of National Sibling Day, and the fact that my brother has no clue that I am writing this, here we go.

    This is my big brother, Paco (and my dad, far left). He’s 2 years older than me, and he’s pretty fucking awesome. Here are some key reasons why:

    • He’s really smart.  Seriously. He’d never want me to talk about this, but I’m going to anyway, because I’m really proud of him, and I’ve had a glass of red wine.

      Paco has always just been a really fast learner. He did really well in school. He got into great undergrad universities and (again, he would never tell you), but I’m pretty sure he got into every law school he applied to. He’s a talented pianist, violinist, and taught himself the bass guitar AND the guitar. He’s not just studious; he’s just naturally bright and clever. He connects things, and just naturally can see the bigger picture while analyzing the little bits you need to get there. He’s a great writer too.
    • He’s really strong. Again, I think he’s too modest to tell you, but my brother’s overcome a lot of things I don’t know that I could have. He had both hips replaced by the time he went to law school. He overcame that physical issue and still bikes and plays IM sports (rugby? or something? wtf did you play, Paco?!). On top of that, he never, never lets anyone (including the family) make excuses for him or give him special treatment. He’s also just consistently pushed himself to be the best, and to do what he thinks is right. He is commited to his convictions (sometimes to the point of stubbornness, but still) in a way that I find really inspiring.
    • He’s really funny. No one makes me laugh quite like my big brother. Even in inappropriate places, like mass. He gets me to laugh longer and more than anyone I know. We have conversations where I just nearly pass out with laughter. It’s probably because we have nearly the exact same sense of humor. That’s probably because we share nearly the exactly same genetic structure.
    • He’s really nice and fun. My brother is just a really loving guy. He’ll pick you up from the airport. He’ll offer you his bed instead of making you sleep on the air mattress. He’ll buy you drinks. He’ll like my facebook statuses because I ask him to. He’ll dance at a bar. He’s just cool.
    • He’s really wise.  My brother, besides being smart, is just good at listening and giving advice. He’ll also (at least with me), really push you to be a better person.

      Like, when I say I said I was going on a date with a fitness model with whom I had nothing in common, my brother was the only one to look past the “girl power!” sentiments and say, “Chrissy, do you know yourself outside the context of a relationship? I think there’s more to life than trying to make out with a body builder. This is a bad idea." #oh. I see what you did there, Paco Torres. Asking the tough questions, forcing me to reevaluate my life, etc.

      He was right, by the way. It was a bad date. There was no making out. 
    • He has the power to change the world. I’m not like, forcing him into it or anything, but I’m just saying.  Big brain. Big heart. Creative ideas. Very charismatic. Belief in the power of the constitution and the general good of mankind. Law school and undergrad from Stanford. Passed the CA bar. Mexican-Filipino kid whose parents kind of embody the American dream. 

      I’d clearly be the first to tweet the HELL out of #TorresForAmerica, but I think others would too. I’m not saying, but I’m just saying

    So, there you have it. My big brother is awesome. 

    npr:

    The new and improved (and interactive!) NPR Interns Staff page.

    Check it out and learn some about the current batch of interns here at NPR!

    Big thanks to the awesome work by our photogs and design team!

    -Savy

    See that adorable human, 2nd from the left, on the bottom row? That’s my cousin Amber. I’m just so terribly proud of her at the moment.

    Ohana means family. Family means no one is left behind.

    Lilo and Stitch


    (Big news coming Sunday afternoon. Be excited)

    Remember the big family 3: Do what you love, chase your dreams, you are never alone. Love you very much.

    Daddy.

    Really though, how did I get so lucky? Even in a time of stress and sadness, my heart is always smiling.