One Step At A Time

#52SlicesOfChingonaLife  #52EssaysNextWave 8/52

So blessed to have a full life.  The past 6 weeks, however, have taken their toll on the little time that I spend on myself, to get myself in order.   While I have no regrets on things that I’ve taken on:  taking Interpreting classes, taking care of my lil nieces on weekends, trying to make a lot happen with not enough staff, etc.  I noticed that my attitude was not right:  impatient, tired, irritable, tired, overworked, tired.

While I don’t want to stop doing what I do, I do know that I want to work smarter, not harder;  to take time for myself as I strive to complete life goals; to admit when I’m tired/burnt out instead of acting like I should handle it all asi nada mas, to make my self-care a daily part of my life. As I work my way out of the quemada/burn-out zone, I decided that, no, I didn’t have to follow ALL of the tips I find on taking care of myself all at once, so I decided that I would try to handle ONE of them within the next month.

In no particular order, here are 3 self-care tips that I’d like to learn more about:

Don’t Give Up The Time You Set Aside
No matter what your profession, you should keep boundaries to preserve your work-life balance. Blocking time on your calendar to decompress is only half the battle: actually utilizing that time for personal care is the other. Hold yourself accountable to keeping the time you set aside for yourself. If you slip, then learn from the moment, reset and restart. – Tracy Avin, MBL Benefits Consulting >>It could be walking for 20 minutes a day to writing in my journal to drinking water, algo es algo.

Leverage Your Commute Time To Decompress
As much as we all want to carve out time for ourselves, the reality is we often get pulled in a different direction given the demands of our everyday lives. One thing I can always count on in my day is commute time. Instead of driving, I take the bus and use the time to relax by reading or listening to music. Our Microsoft CFO, Amy Hood, openly talks about how she takes the bus and does this, too. – Rakhi Voria, Microsoft >>One of the reasons I love taking the train so much,  I don’t have to deal with the traffic mess — Iately, it’s been watching YouTube and taking naps LOL

Follow The Two-Minute Rule
David Allen’s bestselling book, Getting Things Done, explains the two-minute rule. It simply states that if a task takes less than two minutes, then do it straight away. This eliminates procrastination, which reduces stress and allows you to stay organized, which grants you time to decompress at the end of the day. Practicing this rule will surely provide you with personal balance. – Dane Matheson, Sourcebits  >>This is one I will try ASAP, I want to see how much more I can get done in one day!

I guess I’m tired of being tired.  Ready to learn how to make positive changes.  It all starts with one step.

Advertisements

In 2019 Hay Comida En Casa

#52SlicesOfChingonaLife  #52EssaysNextWave2019  4/52

 

When I first saw this ‘advice’ on my social media, I had to laugh because who hasn’t heard this in one language or another?  “We have food at home”, I know that I heard this many times come out of Mama’s mouth.  Then later, as I was going through my receipts and bills, I thought of this again and really thought about it:  a big chunk of my receipts, and I always have a mountain of receipts, were for a coffee here, un McDonalds alla, and on and on.  Not only did I need to rethink my food spending, I could probably save a good chunk of money and live a healthier life by taking advantage of the fact that “hay comida en casa“.

Something clicked in me in that instant, and I decided that, yes, I had complete control of everything that goes into my mouth.  I also cook for Dad a lot as well.   We could both benefit from eating healthier and, what if something happened to either of us?  Something that would make a doctor tell us “this is it, if you continue eating this or that, you will die”.   I had heard of a friend’s wife being told something similar, that she would have to change her eating habits that second or she would die.

I noticed that I had begun to eat emotionally.   I remember going home after an emotional day and chowing down.  I didn’t even enjoy it.  Then there was the day where I had gotten it into my head that I needed to have chocolate every day, bought a candy bar, which I didn’t really even want, and ate it, so unsatisfying.   And THEN, because truth does not lie, I saw a picture of myself and I look like I swallowed a giant ball, lonjas for days.

After seeing the picture, I realized that I hadn’t felt healthy for a couple of weeks.  That something had really been on my mind bothering me during this time, didn’t think “I should call someone and talk this out”, no, it was “I need to make some guacamole”.   I hadn’t been checking on myself lately.  Taking care of myself had become a battle with my sick ‘woe is me, no one checks on me either’ mind.   My lack of self-care was showing (literally) and, after I realized it, it was ‘ON’.  That day, I even wrote in my journal, “this is IT, there has to be another way”.  I started listing the things that I could do in that moment to save my life.

I had a list of about 5 or 6 things that would need to be handled immediately.  I decided that I needed to brown bag it with real food, not jusgueria junk food,  drink water, SLEEP more, rest when I needed to, think about the real food that I liked to eat so that I would have more of it at the house,  choose better foods for Dad as well.  I also felt that I had to be much smarter about my commute which was tearing my patience and rest to shreds.   If I could tackle these necessary things, I might feel better and have time to do more of what I really wanted to do.

The first night of “taking care of myself” saw immediate results, I slept better than ever, the aches and pains, both physical and emotional, suddenly felt more manageable.   Taking leftovers, oranges, apples, bananas, water, etc, to eat was actually really satisfying and, while I did ‘need’ a piece of chocolate that first week, it was nowhere near the desperation that I had felt the week before.   And surprise, how productive was I?  I got soooo much done that I amazed myself.

The takeaway from this post is that, if you don’t take care of yourself emotionally, it WILL catch up with you physically.  Look at your emotional health before spending money on that huge meal or shiny new toy — you’ll end up with a bigass lonja and a lot less money in your bank account.  I want more for myself in 2019 and, like all new endeavors, it will take time to get there.  I’m ready.

 

 

The Angry Man, the Baby Girl, the Rain, and Me

#52SlicesOfChingonaLife  #52EssaysNextWave2019  3/52

It’s rainy, everyone trying to stay dry.

I get onto the light rail train and a homeless gentleman is blocking my way and I’m half-in, half-out of the door. The man is furious because I ask him to move, he starts yelling and, in my defense,  other passengers yelled back to him. I was all squished into a corner and he didn’t move and, necia yo, neither did I.  I didn’t feel like arguing with him or anyone at that point.

I decided to let God deal with him until he wanted to get off of the train.  There happened to be a lady with 2 cute baby girls in front of him.  The woman asked him if this was his stop, and he proceeds to yell at them to move.  The woman had a lil one in a stroller and a tiny one standing near her.  When the man started yelling, the lil girl walks out of the train.   If the other passengers were angry when the man yelled at me, it was straight-up bedlam when he yelled at this family and when we saw the little girl, afraid, walking out of the train to let him pass.  Everyone went in to keep the doors from closing on this lil bebita so she wouldn’t be separated from her mom.

This man got angry because, according to him, no one cared about him or his things.  I used to be very rude to these folks until my sister told me one day,  ‘you know, people who are on the street aren’t all bad, mad or crazy, even though having no food or roof on your head can make you seem like you’re crazy‘.  I tried to have compassion because, you never know, it could be me on hard times.

What got me was, that this man wanted things his way a huevo… at the expense of this cute lil bebita, who in her little pea coat and Mary Jane shoes, could not hurt him.   He just wanted his way.  Kind of reminded me of 45 and the children in the cages, government shutdown, 45’s temper tantrum because he did not get his way, people suffering for some madness the HE created.  It was obvious that this man on the light rail felt the same way, especially as he kept yelling racist remarks and cussing at us as he walked off of the train completely enraged.

I was so happy to see that people did the right thing working together to protect this child and her family, and these were people of many colors who jumped in to help.  I saw more good people than bad on this day.  Gives me hope.  Hope that people are united by doing good for others instead of tearing them apart.

God bless those bebitas and their mother.  God bless that angry man. God bless our country.

A Joyous Moment

#52EssaysNextWave 15/52

Just looked on my drafts, unwritten posts, unfinished essays, and find that I have over FOUR HUNDRED of them.

Every one who writes has a perfect situation where inspiration and creativity flows like a cool breeze or a gentle stream.  No drama, no craziness, no rush, no interruptions.

Here is my Joyous Moment:  Right now, here I sit, alone, in the living room of the house, all windows and doors open at this hour, music blasting, with only the light of Mama’s table, the TV, my laptop and a little flashlight, and me writing.  I’ve been at it for a few hours now and haaaaaappppy!

Especially as event season is upon me, I tend to write a lot every day, but I write proposals, copy points, event timelines, etc.   My mind is beyond busy with constant ‘to-do’ lists, what needs to get done, what has been done.  Granted, this helps me immensely to keep things moving and in order, and while it is joyous when events go well, it does not give me enough of these kinds of joyous moments, where I am ‘me’, at peace with the world, recharging my batteries, doing things that I love to do.

It helps that the house is completely quiet this weekend, as Dad is out-of-town.  Usually all of the lights are on, he’s working on some project or another, his music or TV shows blasting, and it doesn’t feel like a girl’s house LOL.  This type of night reminds me of almost every night when I lived in my own place.  While I still come and go as I please, it’s different with roommates and you know how it is, it’s a little harder to find those “me time” moments.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s no where else I’d rather be, but sometimes, it’s the BEST to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

So tonight, I will sit back and enjoy this Joyous Moment, Me Time, Girl Time, blast MY favorite music, and write until I get sleepy…or write all night like I’ve been known to do.

I must make time for these Joyous Moments (and writing) more often.

 

Rest In Peace?

#52EssaysNextWave 12/52

Today’s is my lovely Mama’s birthday may she RIP.

I’m known to post regularly about Mama: random memories, how many months it’s been since she’s left us (44 months in a few days), pictures that I find around the house, pictures of her table that we update with each holiday, her tradition of giving treat bags to her friends (which, by the way, I’ve passed two holidays because my life got crazy-busy, yes, I feel guilty) and more.

More than once, I’ve had folks tell me that I should let her go, that I should let my mother rest in peace, that I have separation anxiety issues.

Having gone through the trauma of losing my mother, I’ve realized a few things:

  1.  Everyone grieves differently.
  2.  Everyone honors their loved ones in their own way.
  3.  The greatest gift that Margaret gave us, her familia, was sitting us down and telling us how she intended to live out her life, that she loved us and knew that we loved her, and that she knew that we would always be together.

Mama was right.  When she was gone, we would have each other to hold on to, we would know that we were loved, and we would know that she was going to be happy in her eternal home.

So the fact that I celebrate my mother constantly does not necessarily mean that I want time to stop, that I want her back, that I want things to stay as they always have, that I’ve not accepted her departure.  Wrong.  Margaret told us she would be alright, that she was ready to leave, that she would be happy.  There is no way that I would want Mama to be sad or suffering here on earth when she was clearly ready to go HOME.

It took me much longer than my siblings to accept this harsh truth when Mama first told us what was what.  However,  I became so convinced that Mama was right as we took care of her those final weeks:  no food, no water, no medicine and she didn’t look weak or emaciated or sad or suffering.  When it was time, it was time.

When she was with us, we Torres5 would always marvel about the crazy positive reaction would be on social media to anything we posted about Margaret, she would be a little shy when we’d tell her or read folks’ birthday wishes or comments to this or that post, but then you would see her famous little quiet smile.  Mama used to always tell me, “omg, this isn’t a competition!” to which I’d answer, “Of course it isn’t, you always win!”

Happy Birthday Mama/Mother/Mom/Negra/Prieta/Marga!

 

Reaching For the Stars from the “Fil”

#52EssaysNextWave 8/52

This morning, I had the opportunity to listen to Astronaut Jose Hernandez speak. We are from the same area and, while I knew about him going from farm worker to astronaut;  I confess, I never really knew his story. Now granted, I have never had aspirations of working it as an astronaut, but, as he spoke, I found that I could totally relate to his advice on the importance of having goals and making a road map to get you where you want to be.

I really enjoyed his storytelling as well. I’m always looking for authors whom I can relate to, who can tell my story. Just as I search for authors, I always listen to any Latinos who speak to see if they tell my story. I’ve heard many many many Latinos and Latinas speak yet no one came as close as Dr. Hernandez did this morning. He was funny without really even trying, he broke out the Spanglish as many of us do, and proceeded to talk about the important things we all share: familia, education, goals.

Familia is key to keeping you safe, on an emotional level, as you pursue your goals. Who else can you trust enough to tell you straight-up truth, keep it real, and support you at the same time?  Hearing the stories about family as he spoke in Spanglish were hilarious, heartwarming and they hit home for me.

As in his house, for us, college was not an option but an expectation. Our parents told us to try college for one semester and, if it wasn’t for us, it wasn’t for us. Part of Dr. Hernandez’ plan included putting in the work, no excuses, to get what you want, no matter what you are trying to accomplish.  I kept thinking about 2 or 3 unfinished life goals that I am now inspired to revisit and ‘get on it’ to make these goals a reality.

My father only needed to take us to work the fields very few times before we knew that it wasn’t for us, and that, like both our parents, we were destined to study and earn a living another way, not in  the fields. I’ve learned, thru my education, that my job is what I’ve worked for…radio and events are not for everyone and there is no way that I would have known that I could make a living at it had I not gone to college, university and got all into clubs, campus radio, events and taken the classes. I always joke that I get now get paid for what I had always done for free since I was a child.

Our world today needs role models.  Role models are not just for the very young or those young people who are just starting out; they are also very important for those of us adults who tend to get stuck in our ways, in the way it’s always been done, living in “I can’t”, “I don’t have time”, or “I shouldn’t” mentality, who need an attitude adjustment along with a kick in the ass to get moving.   The most important thing I learned was that we never stop learning and, if we can work through our fears and insecurities, that we can achieve more than we ever imagined.

At least, that’s how I want to do it.   Once I get out of my own way.

I’ll have to thank Dr. Hernandez for this much needed “patada” the next time I see him LOL.

Feliz Dia Internacional de La Mujer/Happy International Women’s Day

#52EssaysNextWave 7/52

For all women who came before me who worked it and made it happen and paved the way.

For my mother who taught us, by example, to work it with class. Margaret, most definitely, lives in us.

For my aunts, who have always worked it for so many of us as bonus mothers, for my cousins, who teach us about life in ways that mothers didn’t LOL!

For my godmothers who are the best mentors ever and whom I try to emulate as I mentor, take care of, and enjoy my godchildren nieces and nephews.

For my radio fam goddaughters who are trying to make their way in life and I hope that I never lead you wrong when you ask for advice.  And for my wild, fun, and creative chicas of my radio fam, only WE know and understand the crazyass lives we live every day for “la radio”.

For Gina, Mandy, and Tisa, my goddaughters, I want to do better by you and share in your lives. Goals.

For my Comadre and BFFs, for keeping it real with me and loving me at the same time.

For those of you who visit this page and read my blog regularly, bet you didn’t know how much you inspire me!

For my sisters-in-law, past and present, we are family always.

For the “Mamita Club” – my niece goddaughters, AliyahAngelAntoniaAmyAdrianaDianaLuciaNicoleOliviaSeciliaYasminYesenia, the loves and beauties of my life who will change the world and I pray that you always know your worth and that NinaC is here forever for you.

And of course, to my sisters – the ones who have my back 24/7 and who are the best friends anyone could ever ask for.

I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many great women!  Let’s keep working it always, lifting each other up and supporting each other’s activities, families, lives, and careers.  FELIZ DIA INTERNACIONAL DE LA MUJER… HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Making Salsa: How Brava is Too Brava?

#52EssaysNextWave  5/52

Have you ever eaten salsa that was too hot? too hot to enjoy the flavor hot? angry hot?   I’ve heard folks say, “I hope that it’s not too “brava/hot” because I was “brava” mad as hell when I made it!”

Making salsa when you’re angry is not the smartest thing to do.   Although now that I write it out, I can see how it does help get you out of a bad mood.  Some of us like to make salsa in the blender, easy enough.  However, anger and making salsa can almost render the blender useless…why?   It’s much more cathartic when you put that knife in your hand and chop things up or if you break out the molcajete, put the food in and smash it, literally, between a rock and a hard place as you prepare it.

Take onions.  Chopping up onions automatically make your eyes water.  Sometimes this watering of eyes works when you want to try to hide your tears, “freaking cebolla! it’s the onions making my eyes water, I’m not mad, I’m not crying, no…hmmmmm!

The feel of chopping tomatoes is so cool as you push it into a pile or into a bowl as you cut it up.  Chopping up that tomate may just help you get your anger out and then literally helps to cool it off that quick.

Chile – chopping up one, look how nice that looks, will it make the salsa hot enough? Let me try chopping up another chile and then, after the fourth or fifth one, it’s hard to tell if that little green pile of chile is too much or too little, so you just stop.   By the time you actually get to cutting up the chile, you’ve got to think about cutting out the seeds (or not).  Taking out the seeds takes a few minutes and that might be a good thing, because taking out the seeds takes a lot of the fire out of your salsa.

Cilantro – chopping up cilantro as small as possible is never a bad thing, especially as lots of people can only take cilantro in small doses.  Garlic – same thing.  Both possess pungent odors that can have you doing that “uff” thing wrinkling your nose because the smell hits your senses immediately.  Kinda like smelling salts LOL, intense smells can make you alert, and sober you up and out of your mood for a moment at least.

Then again, it’s been said that food made with love tastes amazing and satisfying.   I wonder how food made while angry must taste like.  With salsa, it’s hard to tell because it’s supposed to be spicy hot.    The only takeaway from this post is, if you’re angry and making salsa, to chop up the chile peppers last, and do not forget to take the seeds out, and, maybe,by that time, after that work, you won’t be mad anymore and the salsa will be nice and spicy, not angry hot.

Now I’m craving salsa…wait…I better check myself, what kind of mood am I in? LOL

A New Day. A New Opportunity to “Teiquirsi”

#52EssaysNextWave  4/52

A new day is here.

I have always been a notorious night person and rarely see anything good about the morning.  I’m usually incoherent and have nothing to say to anyone until the afternoon sun is high above me.  So for me to even be UP is an accomplishment.

Lately, I’ve been up so early that I’ve been able to see the sunrise most days.  In those few minutes as I watch the first sun come up, it is then that I feel the most hopeful, wearing my positive face and, dare I say it, smiling at that moment.

It’s not easy to get up early but I’m starting to feel more productive in most aspects.   I get up and try to pick up the clutter from throughout the house, make myself some breakfast, and, if I need to travel, I’ve made a very conscious effort to take a train versus driving.  Love it! Especially when the train goes by the thousands of cars bumper-to-bumper on the roadways happy not be all up in that mess.  More than anything, I want to travel smarter, not harder.   Once on the train, listening to music, writing, going thru work assignments, catching up on the morning news, and sleeping are the order of the morning, depending on the day.   More than that, my mind is freer to think about what’s going to happen during the day.  By the time I arrive, I’m usually much more alert for meetings and I get thru my “to do” list that much faster.

My glorious view from the train

I love that “new day” feeling and have decided to challenge myself to keep this vibe going throughout the day.  I haven’t yet mastered it but I like that this goal is moving to front and center in my mind.  Here are a couple of tips I’ve found work for me in the mornings:

Take It Slow In The Mornings:  I find that when I ease into my day versus all of the drama and rushing around, that I am able to maintain that “new day” feeling for a little longer.  I’m calm, open-minded, and ready to work it.  Henrik Edberg gives insight on “How To Stay Positive:  11 Smart Habits” (The Positivity Blog.  https://www.positivityblog.com/how-to-stay-positive/):  “So be careful about how you spend your mornings. If you get going at full speed, lost in future troubles in your mind then the stress, perceived loss of power of over your life and negative thoughts will ramp up quickly.”

Stay present and mindful as you move through your day:  “When you spend your time in the present moment then it becomes so much easier to access positive emotions and to stay practical about what you can actually do about something in your life.  When you get lost in the past or future, your worries become very big very quickly. And failures and mistakes from the past being replayed over and over in your mind drag you down into pessimism.  By moving slowly through your morning and hopefully through much of the rest of your day it becomes easier to stay in the moment you are in.” (The Positivity Blog.  https://www.positivityblog.com/how-to-stay-positive/)

Sounds like moving slow in the morning is actually a good thing.  And for someone like me, who runs hard, moves fast, worries, and says una que otra pendejada at the wrong time, moving slow is just what the doctor ordered, and to do what Mama a-l-w-a-y-s told me, “sloooow down“.

 

Buenos Dias from the Ranch

And NOW Inner Chillona Shows Up? Getting Your Cry On

 

#52EssaysNextWave  3/52

Sitting here on a full train on my way home.   Not only are people sitting all around me, they’re standing as well getting ready to get off at their stop.  Everyone around me is pretty much doing what I am:  headphones on, either on social media, listening to music or watching video or You Tube, anything to de-stress.   I can sit here and practically stare everyone in their faces and they are all lost in their own world, their own thoughts.

So why am I sitting here tonight fighting all types of emotion:  laughter, tears, sadness, anger, melancholy?  A song has just come onto my shuffle which hits me big time.   The person singing those lyrics inside of my head, my headphones, without knowing it, is singing my life, is singing exactly what I would say to this person were he in front of my face.  From the back of my mind, the back shelf, the back of the room, with her crybaby self, Inner Chillona has arrived.

NOW she shows up?  I am sitting here, not knowing where to hide my face, my eyes, the tears welling up in my eyes, it’s getting too dark for sunglasses, my Kleenex is in my bag under my chair, chiiiiingado!   Can these people see and/or sense my life flashing before my eyes?  It almost feels like those dreams where you’re walking around naked, trying to hide, looking for anything to cover yourself.   Maybe the folks sitting and standing all around me can see me visibly react as each word stuns me into silence…with the truth.

Moco rag aka used kleenex

The song is in Spanish and me, well, being a translator 😊, offer my rough translation of a couple of verses of the song, ‘MEJOR QUE A TI ME VA”  — hope it doesn’t get lost in the translation.

…What did you THINK … would happen?

…That I’d be thrown down, crying in some corner on the ground?

…That I’d live as if my life has ended?

…Not the case…

…I survived…

…I confess, starting over wasn’t easy …

…Lots of people say it’s karma…

…I swear I never wished you harm…

…But this is what you get …

…I watch as you pay for it all…

…Things are better for me than they are for you…

 

I sit here wishing that I could have had my chance to say this once or twice RIGHT when I wanted to. To have my emotions in check enough to be elegant and say “I’m out”, instead of screaming out “f%$* you!” at the top of my lungs as I drove off beyond angry and disgusted in the rain.    Isn’t it how we all want things to end?   Closed, clean, tidy in a box.  How I wish, brincos diera.

Then I realize that tonight’s music shuffle is probably not a coincidence either.  Maybe hearing these songs after so much time after drama gives you the power to be able to say what you need to say, even if the person is not in front of you, maybe years later, better late than never, when you’re ready to accept things as they were, as they are.  When you are safe enough to let these emotions out FINALLY.   How many times did I hold in rage, tears, coraje, emotions just to keep the peace, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with all too-familiar dramatics and consequences?

Your Inner Chillona may choose the most awkward places for you to react in tears, but, in my case, it always feels like it’s the right time, that I need to get these emotions out.  We need these types of songs to get our cry on sometimes, and as my fam friend Jorge says, “to cry like a lil bitch”, to remind us how far we’ve come, to remind us what’s left in our journey from ‘chillona‘ to ‘chingona‘ AKA getting our head straight(er).

If all I must do now in order to get my power back is to reach into my bag for Kleenex to wipe my tears and mocos, then I must not be as jodida as I was way back when LOL.   I just wish that Inner Chillona and all of her emotional moments would hit when I was in the safety of my Jeep or in the bathroom where no one could see me in all my tearful glory.

So when the NEXT song on the shuffle comes on, I have to smile:  it’s a song about nothing being a coincidence, everything happens for a reason, love, success, people in (or out) of your life…all very positive and moving forward.

Standing side to side with your Inner Chillona, in your own truth is powerful (and healthy) whether you set it to music or not.

 

 

My Inner Chillona song for the evening is featured below, complete with lyrics.