2016 Resolutions: Making Time for Friends. The Power of Amigos

3 Jan

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One of my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions has been to make time for my friends and to hang out with my friends a huevo LOL.   I’ve always known that I have been super-blessed to have these friends since my days at Sac State.  We have all kind of grown up together, some of us in the same major, some of us in clubs, some of us were roommates.  I will have to ask how it is that we met each other.  I swear that I don’t really remember the details of how I met all of these folks…this is how I know how important they are to me, it’s like we’ve known each other forever.

It never matters how long it has been since we have seen each other, or since we have last spoken to each other, the connection we have is a powerful one.

As I dragged myself out of bed this morning, I was barely feeling better from bronchitis, and I was already trying to figure out my excuse for not showing up LOL and then I thought, “these people have seen me at my best and, more important, at my worst”  so I pulled myself together and started for our designated meeting place.   I get to the place and some of them are already there doing what we all do best:  talking ish, smack, s%#@ as only we can do.

I was immediately comforted by this because I knew that I could be 100% myself, no taking care of anyone, no having to be anywhere I didn’t want to be, no pretense, no trying to impress anyone.  Is it the same for you when you get together with your BFFs?

Now the majority of my friends all became teachers and there are only very few of us who did not go that route.  I have the BEST time teasing these people mercilessly and was soooo happy that my only Communications major colega was present — if, for nothing else, to keep things lively and to talk about something else other than lesson plans (jus keedeen).

Lots of talking and laughing ensued for the next few hours and I remember that, while at Sac State, we were convinced that we could change the world!  Years and many reality checks later, we know that we may not be able to change the world but my friends are able to show me the power of friendship, unconditional love, support and yes, how much fun pendejadas can be!  My friends make me feel powerful enough to take on Monday at least!  I am positive that I will have something to laugh about until I see them again next time!

Make time to connect with your friends today…yeah yeah yeah life gets in the way but it’s always fun to reconnect and recharge!

 

Happy New Year 2016

1 Jan

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Happy 2016! As I reflect upon this past year, I realize that it has all been about one thing: taking a step back to breathe.

Mama’s passing took it out of me in many ways and much of the year was spent dealing with the fact that she would not be here anymore and that I no longer had to caregive at the level I had done with my dad and siblings for the past few years. For many many weeks, I still woke up at every noise and every few minutes to “check” on Mama. I didn’t really know how to fill the hours when it was “my” day to take care of her.

Carmen was a woman who screamed and shouted for much of this time about how “I want my life back” and how all I did was live out of the boxes…so once I made the decision to STAY at the Ranch and take care of my dad and familia, I even shocked myself. Somewhere along the way, my priorities not only shifted, they completely changed.

My former life had no room for family, friends, or even me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my work and all of my activities and was shocked when this work could no longer sustain and motivate me. In my business, aside from knowing your stuff, you really have to have the drive to push yourself forward to work it, if you want to succeed. Anything less is not enough. I’m sure that it’s like this everywhere but broadcasting is different, the stakes always feel higher, it’s a very small world and the ups and downs in our industry are dramatic to say the least!
6 months into the year, I parted ways with my stations and, instead of feeling devastated, I felt a little bit of relief. I needed something and I needed to find out just what that was.

Now I realize that the past 6 months have been about taking care of me, something I haven’t really ever done. I’m finally listening to my mother and all of the times she used to tell me to take care of myself and to let others help me. This new attitude has made me much stronger emotionally and I make better decisions these days. Family is who is there for you when you cannot be there for yourself; the family foundation is what grounds you as you try to find your way.

There is no room in my life for negative drama; there is no room in my life for anyone who is out there trying to disrupt me by harassing my friends and family. I intend to keep moving forward from this madness that has nothing to do with me anymore and everything to do with how this person deals with, or doesn’t deal with life’s challenges. I can, and will, have my life on my terms, not on anyone else’s. It’s all about standing up for myself, my peace of mind and keeping the important stuff close to my heart and more private for now.

2016 will be about embracing the important things in life: hanging out with Daddy, being with my familia, enjoying all of the #TorresBabies, working out (we finally brought in the exercise bike LOL), getting back to church, being around positive people, situations, and projects in that order.

My wish for you in 2016 is that you find and embrace all that will make you laugh, make you happy, healthy, and successful.

Bring the Darkness into the Light sez #InnerChingona

10 Dec

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I was asked to translate a story that I told a few years ago about how to get your power back when you are going through any type of abuse.  This kind of situation can be so complicated, hurtful, volatile, confusing, and so full of drama that it is very hard to think clearly.  You are reduced to constant damage-control and to trying to take care of others at the expense of you — when you need rest to recharge and energize yourself back to health, safety, productivity and peace.   I told myself that, if I ever came out on the other side of this crazyass situation, that I would always try to help others find their power.    As this story was written three years ago, I have updated it a little to reflect my thoughts now as I translate it.

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I am done hiding. I am done making excuses for this person. I am done acting like I am the only person in the world that this has happened to. Most of all, I am done giving power to people who only want to humiliate me and everything I’m about.

Part of giving power to someone else is to hide, to not let anyone see how affected you are. In the beginning, it is very hard to face anyone because you are ‘sure’ that they know what you are going through, that they can see it on your face,  and the last thing you want is for everyone to know your business, your private drama.   At this point, you are controlled by that person and your circumstances.  It is very hard to think straight and all you can think about is, “I’ve got to keep it together”.

It soon becomes apparent that this is only a facade.  NO one can control the actions of another person forever and I saw, first-hand, how things were completely getting out of control.   We all have that person in our lives to whom we turn to, especially when things are dire.  In my desperate state, I went to my sisters for help.  Scared as I was, I began to feel like my power was slowly returning.

Every time I felt my power come back, I was humbled and thrown down again because this person would do one sinister thing after the other, all in the name of “love”.  I would think, ‘there’s no way he could do this or that…’ and then there would be these sick emails sent to my employers and co-workers one week, and the other, all kinds of crazy postings on my social media, and when that was done, all kinds of weird calls and deliveries would come to my home and office.  Even after all of that, my mind could barely get around this, how could this person want to destroy me, my family and my livelihood?  That I still thought, ‘he’s a complicated person but he can’t REALLY mean what he says/does, can he?’ further shows just how much turmoil and drama was in my life and that I still had a ways to go.

 

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It was a roller-coaster of emotions and withdrawal and hiding out from friends, family, the world.  I was still trying to ‘control’ things and I still couldn’t see, or should I say, I could not yet accept that I had to “let go and let God” help me.  How did I finally figure this out?   Mama was still with us and I finally sat down with her and told her, straight-up, what was happening with me.  What did Margaret do?  She told me that we all make mistakes and that she would pray for my safety and that ‘this too shall pass’.   Still very scared, I felt much more empowered that night.

A few weeks passed from that night and things escalated big-time when, after I refused to answer my phone, I get a call on my mother’s phone saying, “you gonna talk to me now bitch?”   All of the humiliation came back but this was the first time that I got really angry — my mother did not deserve to be brought into this hell.   At this moment, I knew and understood how many women feel when they say, “that’s it”.   I love Mama forever for not judging me, all she said was, ‘he is sick and we need to keep praying for him and I pray for you every day to be safe’.   Little did I know that, on this night, I would receive over 300 calls from both phones as well as text messages.  I will never forget Mama holding the house phone so that I couldn’t get it and telling me to turn my phone off and try to get rest.  Margaret held that phone with the resolve of a mama bear protecting her cub.  I didn’t dare try to get that phone from her, Mama was the strongest super-heroine EVER that night!

The one thing that I learned that night:  bring the darkness into the light and you will see your power come back big time.   I don’t know what I would have done had I not told my sisters and my mother what was going on with me.  To know that someone had my back 100% was the most empowering feeling ever.   Even though my situation did not end that night and so much has happened and I’ve walked into many walls since then, I often refer to that night where Mama really took care of me, sick as she was, and it allowed me to rest and recharge enough to get through the night and the days to come.   Thinking about that night is always  enough to bring me back to where I need to be for that moment, power restored.

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As I translated this into Spanish, I cried all over again.  So many of us Latinas grow up thinking that we are not all that, that we exist to serve and service others.  As we learn to love ourselves a little, we can work on breaking this vicious cycle of hiding, holding things in, taking it to keep peace or to control someone or a situation.   My family is a peace-loving family and I was not brought into this world to live with my head down and not contribute to my familia and my world.   Try to find someone you trust now.  Learn the difference between being used to using a bad situation to benefit you.  This road is long from over but you can prepare yourself for better days and for days where you are not part of someone’s sick game.  Do it for YOU.  I’ve seen with my own eyes how things can and do get better.  Bringing the bad out into the light makes it lose some of its power and, if you’re lucky, you can gain some of that power for yourself.  My goal is to keep my sense of ‘aventada-ness’ and my ‘mevalemadre’ attitude in check so that I will be no one’s ‘sonsatontapendeja’ any more.  Thanks Mama and mis hermanas for showing me that I needed to keep the faith but do my part as well.  Let Go And Let God.  Amen.

 

Loss: It’s Amazing What You Find After Profound Loss

6 Dec

 

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Experiencing a profound loss is overwhelming and I have found that, by sharing stories with others, I have been able to find great stories of healing and hope and  things that allow people to keep on keeping on…

At the very beginning of loss, it’s really hard to deal with sharing — you’re just trying to get thru the day without crying or withdrawing.  I found that for all of the people who have shared with me, they lost their loved one around the time Mama left us or before.  The one thing that my control-freak personality had to accept was that I was completely lost and without the energy to find my bearings for a very long time.   It has been really strange to have had to literally stop everything I was doing and start doing things another way.  When I’ve shared this with others, I was stunned to find that they ALL felt the same sense of loss and I love and relate to some of the stories…I felt a lot of comfort by hearing others share their grief with me and thought you’d like to hear how some of these folks have dealt with loss, here are their thoughts in no particular order:

Dreams:   “I kept seeing and dreaming my mother after she passed away and, while it was nice, the one thing that I noticed in the dream that I could not feel or hold my mother.   One day, I just prayed to God asking Him to let me feel ‘el abrazo’ from my mother.  A couple of days later, she comes to me in my dream and holds out her arms to me, and when I run to her arms, I could FEEL her!  She rocked me like she did when I was a little boy and then I woke up…happy!”

Things I Miss: ” I miss her ‘tortilla-scented hands”

Special Places:  I have a special quiet little spot in our home where I have his ashes, old pictures, things like his car keys, etc.  I always stop there and say a few words of hope.  Time heals.

Priorities Change:  “You change your priorities, almost without thinking about it.  The little things start to mean a lot, spending time with your loved ones who are left become your most treasured gifts.   Everything else becomes ‘segundo plato’, takes second place.  That you submit to these changes willingly will surprise you the most.”

You Lose Patience for BS:   This one had me laughing the most because I was so invested in other people’s drama and BS that I had a difficult time living my own life.  To hear others tell about how they don’t give a sh&% about things that they cannot control and people and their drama issues had me saying one big “Yup!”

Live Your Own Life Your Own Way, Let Others Do the Same is the main thing I have learned during this past year.  The crazy thing is that Mama had been telling me for YEARS that I needed to take care of myself first and to stop the madness of running on empty all of the tine and still keep going.   Now I get it!  As I embrace change, it is so much easier than I thought to live in a more concise manner:  loving, remembering and mourning Mama in my own way, learning to be there for my loved ones and learning to love and have patience for myself.

It’s very comforting to know that I am not alone, that my familia and friends have either gone thru, are going thru, or may go thru this type of loss.  Life goes on.

 

Radio Presets Move Inner Chingona Forward

1 Dec

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For well over a year, life happened to me so I had not really listened to a radio station aside from talk radio or Catholic radio…all the more amazing because, working in radio, we radio peeps tend to listen more than regular folks. Ask anyone in radio, every single radio space on the dial is usually completely preset and you better know that all we do is punch the preset buttons constantly. I always have to tell folks in the car what I’m doing, that it’s “work” or “research” or “monitoring” so that I don’t completely drive passengers insane with the constant changes of station.

Ask any radio person what they are listening for…every person listens for a different reason LOL. The Marketing and Sales side of me listens for the promotions – what are they giving away, how can people win, what concerts are they exclusive for, what are their upcoming big events, are my clients’ commercials running right? Are they running at the right time? Is there a competing client/business running right before or after? It’s madness for sure and attention to this madness will indicate whether all is well or whether I will be laying over a serious “lumbre” (fire) shortly!

So on this morning’s drive, I finally got tired of hearing talk radio or no radio at all and started listening to regular music radio in both English and Spanish. Out of pure instinct, I started punching the ‘preset’ buttons and, within minutes, all of my preferred stations are preset. As I continued driving, strangely, I started to relax and breathe easier if you can believe THAT! I felt as if a fog had been lifting over my body, I started to feel connected to the world and, dare I say it? Motivated. Motivated to do what? I do not know yet.

The way I see it, I’ve got a bunch of ‘presets’ to push, to find which station I stay with the longest without punching the next button, to figure out what it is that I want to do next. Will I be speaking or writing in English? Spanish? Spanglish? I’ll keep pressing until I find what it is that inspires and motivates me, this is the ONLY non-negotiable for my future: to support projects and people who inspire, empower, and motivate me.

It’s never too late to start over, to do precisely that thing that scares you, to do the right thing, to take care of yourself, to listen to YOUR Inner Chingona, to make your own set of preset buttons for your life! Work it today!

Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias 2015!

25 Nov

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What a difference a year makes…Last year all I could do was cry into my food that’s how painful it was to be without my mother. I completely lost my focus, my purpose, and have operated on auto-pilot for many, many months until just a few days ago. #MargaretLivesInMe and I am very thankful for my Dad, my siblings and our Ranch and Grijalva families. Our 17 #TorresBabies continue to bring us much pride and joy – and how much fun are we having watching our lil bebitos King, Yezi, Olivia, and Lucia do something new everyday? Keeping Mama’s traditions alive help me to stay connected to her and I’m thankful for God and for time, which has helped me heal, make my priorities crystal clear and pave the way for whatever comes next.

TAKE PICTURES with your loved ones during the holidays, you will never regret it. Happy Thanksgiving All!

 

 

Mama’s 1st Anniversary In Heaven 11-11-2015

14 Nov

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It’s hard to believe that Mama has been gone from us for a year.  This was the most difficult year ever for the Torres Familia.  As I look at these pictures, I sense the strength, unity and love that we have for each other…THIS is what my mother wanted most for us, she always said that we should clear up any issues or problems with loved ones, that life is too short, that we always needed to be together.   The support we give each other makes the pain much more bearable.

In no particular order, here are some of the things I think about as we celebrate Mama’s First anniversary in Heaven:

Tuesday Nights:  By far, the most difficult night for me during this past year.  Mama left us on a Tuesday night and it was the hardest thing to see her taken from our house and watching the car drive to the back of the Ranch and on the way out forever.   Her Rosary Mass was on a Tuesday night as well…soooo many people showed up thank God or I might have had a really difficult time.  I’ve always had a very hard time attending Rosary and Funeral Masses.  I know that it is necessary to pay one’s respects as well as getting a chance to say goodbye and have closure, that doesn’t make it easier for me though.  All of the those emotions seem to find their way to me on Tuesday nights.

Driven No More:  I have lived my life completely driven and moved very fast and worked hard all of the time, 24/7.  I also spent time very afraid and didn’t want to imagine my life without my parents.  Once I lost Mama and once I saw that I survived, very sad, but survived, everything that I was about before changed.   Gone was the need to be so driven, gone was the need to move at breakneck speed, gone was the need to run, always run.  I finally lost the fear and the need to please everyone all of the time.   In my business, that instinct is very important to success so I know that I’ve lost out on some opportunities because I was no longer willing to play the game.  It is no longer the end of the world for me.

Lost In a Good Way:  I’ve been very distracted, disconnected, lost .  I’m not really worried about it though.  It’s time to do things another way, to live in peace, to change-up my priorities.   Family and Peace are the two things that I think about the most now.  I want to keep up my mother’s traditions, make good on my promise to keep the family together, and I love it that peace is coming back into my life more and more – I’m done with putting drama front and center, I am over that.  Being at peace is helping this girl finally find her way and reason for being.

As long as Mama is happy, I’m happy:  I was the one who had the hardest time accepting that Mama no longer wanted to do her dialysis treatments, she was tired of all of the needles, the lack of energy, the pain, all of it.  I thought that, as the days went on, that she would change her mind once things got difficult for her without dialysis.  The thing is, things didn’t get more difficult for her, they got more peaceful, she didn’t seem to be in physical pain – in some ways, she was stronger physically WITHOUT food or water.   Mama wasn’t emaciated or anything so I knew that God was taking care of her and eventually, I accepted everything.  When I get sad, I think of how ready she was to get to her eternal home and this comforts me.

Embrace the Signs:  Instead of being afraid of the signs:  lights randomly turning on, Mama’s birds singing so loud, seeing Mama in dreams, or random “Margaret” songs that come on the radio; I am grateful to maintain the connection to my mother and welcome any message or sign from her.   She’s very much alive in my heart and soul, I love being around her house and things.  I feel her energy helping to move me forward.

My life changed forever on November 11, 2014 when Mama left this earth.  Slowly but surely, things are starting to feel right again.  We Torres’ are still strong and we are still together … everything else will, eventually,  fall into place.

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My New Gig: Daddy’s Editor

14 Nov

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Check out Dad above, he’s reading me excerpts from his thesis on Mexican music.   After much cajoling (and straight-up begging),  Dad finally let me start writing and recording his many, many, many backstories about famous Mexican songs, composers, and singers.  I put something together for him to check out and he loved it…so now I guess I am his editor LOL.

I remember that I had wanted to do this with Mama.  In fact, I had purchased a book of questions to start writing her story…did I write it?  Sadly, no.   I was wasting time and energy looking for that dumb book to guide me when I could have just sat down, turned a recorder on, and wrote away.   Now that Mama is gone, I figure that I would just write and stop worrying about having the perfect questions ready.

This will be a fun project as anything music-related is always a lot of fun for the Torres family … plus, Mike Torres knows so much about music and he has some hilarious chisme to go with all of this!  I figure that this will be a great memento for our familia and for his fans to know this side of him.   Let me tell you, he is INTO this now and I made him break out the post-it notes to mark the many topics that he wants me to write about.  It’s fun to see him so animated about the project and I am happy that I get to be the one to bring his stories to life — let’s hope I do him justice and get it right!

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Inner Chingona and Breaking Out the Big Girl Chones

22 Oct

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Sometimes there is nothing else to do but work it for yourself.  Inner Chingona helps a lot but, sometimes, you need something else to take you across the finish line.

During the past 24 hours, I had a couple of situations where I had to, straight up, stand up for myself and have the ‘come to Jesus’ conversations that were, no doubt, going to be difficult.  However, there was no other way to go but to ‘go there‘.

Easy to do?  Not.  We talk a good game a lot of the time, “no one is going to walk all over me”, “no way am I gonna let this or that happen”, “does this person know who they are dealing with?”   It is very easy to get caught up in projects and taking care of others that it’s easy to forget to take care of your business, how you deal with people, how people deal with you.   Wait, let me rephrase this:  we don’t forget to take care of ourselves most of the time…we choose not to take care of ourselves.  Many times, this translates into awkward and unpleasant situations where sonsatontapendeja decisions are made and all kinds of pent-up emotions and things fly out of your mouth and you end up looking like one big chillona diva cry baby – which is, sadly,  the drama that people tend to remember instead of the issue at hand.

I knew that I wanted to be confident when I handled these situations so I had to meet with all of my advisers — my Inner Chingona and both of my sisters LOL. Who better to listen to me go on and on, crying, getting all mad, letting me fall apart and then helping me put myself back together?

Fast forward to the next morning…

I practiced what I would say and felt emotionally ready to face the day…so I now wanted to wear my good lipstick, and wear clothes that made me feel powerful and confident on the outside – especially as I was still shaking a little inside.  So I have my clothes all laid out and I start looking thru my underwear drawer.  HijaDeLaFregada…chiiiin…! The day I need to get my big girl chones on and the only underwear clean are the funky, torn-up, thrashed ones.   All of my good underwear are in the dirty laundry basket staring up at me, laughing at me for not handling laundry like I should have.   Now what?  I had to think fast so that I wouldn’t lose my confidence vibe before I left the house.

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As I slept on Mama’s bed among all of her things, I thought to myself, “there has to be some of her underwear in here somewhere!” so I start going thru the drawers (no pun intended) and, lo and behold, I find a pair of faded purple ones that I helped put on Mama many times.  I put them on and, I cannot say for sure that Mama’s chones had magical powers or anything, but there was most def a surge of energy when I put them on!  I let out a “yes!’ and started to hear El Chicano’s  classic “Viva La Raza” in my head LOL.  That is the one song that I always hear when I am about to do something important, when I get inspired by  the ‘movement/la causa‘ , when I’m envisioning a successful event,  or simply when I need to get out the can of whoop-ass.  I found my sense of ‘aventada-ness‘, my mevalemadre attitude was back and I left my sonsatontapendeja self at home and went out to handle my business!

I was proud to be able to tackle two of the most difficult conversations that I had ever had and I was able to approach these situations without nerves, cool, confident, looked these people and situations right in the face.  In fact, I stunned myself when I heard my voice asking these really pointed, difficult questions that I was “sure” that I would never be able to pull off without crying or shaking.  And you know what?  It wasn’t as bad as I thought.  So I lost sleep over the whole ordeal, but I’ll never tell them that LOL.   When the time came for me to put on my ‘big girl chones‘ and I literally could not find them…Inner Chingona and Margaret Torres totally worked it to help me take care of business, chones and all!

You better know that when I got home later that day, I took out all of Mama’s underwear which I will save for those times when I’m feeling nervous or  afraid to work it for myself!   I challenge you to find your version of ‘big girl chones’ whatever works for you that empowers you to take care of yourself and handle your business!

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Timing: Inner Chingona Sez ‘Todo A Su Tiempo’

10 Oct

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For the past few months, everything has felt like such a mess, like as if my life and my goals were flying about in the wind as if they were pieces of paper, and there I was trying to catch these pieces of paper as if my life depended on it.  After what has seemed like loss, loss, and more loss, I feel like I’m being led to a calmer way of life, to really start thinking about what my next moves in life will be, to lose the drama, to,  as a good friend says, “divorce myself from engaging” from people and situations that no longer serve me.

It’s about time!  As I sit here and think about how I’ve lived and loved the past few years — unbalanced, yes.  unhealthy, yes.  fun, yes.  stressful and driven, always.    Some of the decisions that I have made overwhelm me with guilt, remorse, regret.   It’s like I went from living just for me 100% which ended up being straight-up empty to living to do everything right for others — at some expense to myself and my goals.  I wish that I had learned how to honor and listen to my Inner Chingona much sooner so that I would have had a more positive and healthy approach to everything in my life.  Lo hecho hecho esta and I now fully intend to balance what I have to do and still do those things that I love, hang with people who love and respect me, and realign my priorities and goals so that I can live a more healthy life versus a stressful and driven one.  To live more passionately and goal-oriented, to stand up for myself and to stop letting myself down.   I always try to come up with four things I need to work on to get myself together.  My four short-term goals from October 4th (my other birthday) to the end of 2015 are:

-Being there and spending time with my familia is important.

-Believing and having faith that God will guide me to the right path.

-Lose my fear of working it for myself the way I used to do for others.

-Accept that, while I have done and said some stupid things, that I also have done things that do fill me with pride and that I need to own that!

OMG!  Do you see anything that says I must succeed in my career at the cost of everything else?  Not any more.  I’m ready to work hard for something I love, but what would that be?  Sepa … who knows?    Giving up a little of the control-freakness is actually a relief.  Not knowing what comes next is kind of exciting, especially as I intend to embrace anything positive.  All of this loss happened for a reason.  The main silver lining right now is that I have had to start over from zero in many areas of my life and I have come through it all in one piece.   I have a few more rough days as I let go and let God pull me out of negativity and back on the path to living with passion, purpose, and a positive outlook.  Ready, Set, Go!

 

 

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