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Well, hello, late-twenties. I didn’t see you there, but come on in why don’t you?
So, each year for the past few birthdays (here’s 25 part 1, 25 part 2 and 24) I’ve come up with a charge or theme for the year, then reflected on it the following year. Yes, it’s a very TFA/NPO/New-Agey thing, but I like it.
Last year, here’s what I wrote about my birthday, from 2 different posts:
When midnight struck, I was sitting on my couch, eating a banana and watching The West Wing. I was immensely satisfied: I had had a great night with friends, left when I wanted to, and was now quietly immersing myself in something I loved, simply for the joy of it.
I don’t know if that’s any kind of omen or foretelling of how the rest of the year will be, but either way, the thought of it makes me smile.
that leads me to my charge for 25:
Find the courage of your convictions.
This year, when midnight struck, I was sitting with PJ curled up on the couch at my parents place watching television. My parents were in their room, and my brother in his. I realized that, as I plunge head-first into my late twenties, some of the most important people in my life were all within 20 feet of me, happily existing and filling the house with love. If that’s not “blessed,” I don’t know what is.
A lot of things have happened this year that have been drops in the blessing bucket. My parents got their place in Hawai’i. I grew closer to my friends out here in Hawai’i, in TFA, and have gone on some fantastic adventures with them. I made a commitment (to myself) to this place and this work. I met PJ. I got a new job (!!! more on that soon, but headlines: staying with TFA, still living in Hawai’i, moving to national role in social media this fall).
Those are the tangibles, though. When I reflect on my charge for the year, I actually feel really good. I feel like I not only stood up for what I felt strongly about (for the most part), but that I also stood up and said, “nope, I have no idea what the hell this is” when necessary as well. This became true in everything from deciding to start rebuilding my relationship with God, to building even stronger ones with my co-workers and loved ones.
blahblahblah so what does this mean for 26?
When I was interviewing for new-job (for another post, I promise!), I got asked to identify my personal brand in 3 words or phrases (it’s a social media position, so this question makes sense to me).
I’ll be honest, I had not seen this question coming (but isn’t it a great one?). When I thought about what I tend to twee/write about, the answers seemed pretty clear:
In the coming year, I think I think I need to come back to that initial idea of what my personal brand is, and what I think it once was. In the past few months, though, I think I have found myself becoming more and more, well, serious. Not that I think being serious is bad— the issues facing education with the work that I do are serious, difficult, tragic, and urgent.
I think, though, in immersing myself in all the things I am frustrated in I have become much less likely to laugh and much more likely to allow myself to stew in all my frustrations (and, more often than not, drag those with me along for the ride).
So, for 26, I think it is essential that I find joy in all things.
And I mean it, all things. Whether it’s finding joy in the traditional sense and doing things like laughing along at my parents and their (loving) ribbing, or finding joy in the Christian sense in knowing that it is “well with my soul,” I think it’s time to start turning my face towards the sun again. It is joyful that my parents are here (obviously) or that I am in a place where I can dig deep into elements of race/class that make my upset, or that my boyfriend is able to engage me in those discussions by using humor.
In addition, my new job will likely throw me into the faces/arms of critics, of those who do not agree with and rail against my own beliefs and the work that I do, and that is ok. In fact, that is joyful. It is joyful that I have the opportunity to engage in dialogue about something I am passionate about. It is joyful that others are as passionate as I am. It will also be joyful to know that I will not be doing this alone (no one, though, is alone).
I’m rambling now, so I’ll go to bed (this will post in the morning). I am so excited, though, and feel so blessed at the love, joy, happiness, and contentment I feel. I think, for 26, it is time to rediscover joy in all things.
Since moving here. As told by Taylor Swift songs. Oh, & that last one isn’t unfortunate at all I suppose.
"All too well" ->"I Knew you were trouble"->"all too well"(reprise)->"stay stay stay"
I spent a lot of time these past few days thinking about my dad (obviously) and what I might say about him that I haven’t already said.
My relationship with my father has evolved a lot in my life. I was a Daddy’s girl when I was younger, especially since between the parental split, I tend to look a tiny bit more like my father (though I’m a pretty solid mix of both).
In high school, my Dad was both one of my loudest cheerleaders and also my fiercest opponent. We were so similar, that it caused us to butt heads occasionally about things we disagreed on, or put him in a tough place when I did stupid things like sneak my Mormon boyfriend over to the house (Boy, you were right there, Dad).
Now, in college and beyond, my Dad often acts as both a friend and spiritual adviser (not that my mom isn’t spiritual nor is she bad in any way at advice, but this is a father’s day post so let’s all be cool guys). Since my dad and I are so similar, we tend to have similar values. This means my dad can often hear me out on a problem and give me something akin to what-me-thirty-years-from-now might say about how to handle it.
So, clearly my father has shaped a lot in my life. Not just the high standard I hold for myself (and the men in my life), but also the abundance of lessons and advice he has given me over the years.
So I was thinking about my dad, and what qualities still pop up about him, and I laughed to myself and thought, My dad is just so weird.
Let me explain, because I definitely never mean it in a bad way. My dad grew up in Pico Rivera, CA, a city South East of Los Angeles. In a world that had (and still has) pretty set stereotypes for Latin men, my Dad (at least to my knowledge) has never really pushed himself to fit into them. He loves cars, but his passion for them is less in American muscle and more in European race cars. He reads and watches quite a bit of science fiction— his third date with my mom was to see Star Wars, and those of you who know me know that my love for Star Trek is firmly rooted in hours as a child watching Star Trek: TNG. In a world that expected Latin men to be not-so-great at education, my dad earned a BA in Latino studies, a BS in Biology, is an MD in Mexico and a PA here in the states. My dad never ceases to make me laugh, because he is so completely and unabashedly himself.
As a Latina-Filipina-who-most-looked-Mexican growing up in a mostly-White suburb, there were a lot of a times where I was stereotyped quite a bit myself. It was both the strong modeling and firm push from my dad to defy stereotypes and not be afraid to “prove them wrong.” Once, I was fighting with some girl at school, and said I wanted to do something mean to her (I legitimately can’t remember). I distinctly remember my dad saying, “She’s not worth it. You can prove her wrong, but don’t go down to her level to fight with her. We’re above that.”
This Father’s Day, I am both grateful and in awe of the man who somehow subtly and quietly educated my brother and I to just keep doing us. It absolutely set the standard for who we are today. He not only gave me the space as I still try and navigate who I am, but is also always there cheering me own to unabashedly be that person, no matter what is expected.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.
5 Little Successes
Success is the unopened bottle
of white wine chilling in your fridge. The one
that you were so sure you would need
to get through the night, but sits there,
Success is found in the red, puffy eyes you have
the morning after the night you broke down.
The one where panic set in or you were terrified
your heart would never mend. But now, though raw, there are
no more tears.
Success is seen in the silence you keep, though
it breaks both your hearts. You were so sure that
you would never be able to stop shooting words
into space, but now you see the only way to mend is
to make space.
Success is the first time you wake up and you don’t think
about him in your waking moments. He, who used to intertwine
into your very being in as the sun peeked through the curtains
is nowhere to be found, and there is room for
Success is the first boy who makes your heart leap
after the last one. The one you were so sure would
surround your heart like a second skin, that no one
would make you feel that way, but now you see that
we move on.