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I never knew Tony Gwynn personally, but he plays a role inseparable from memories of my uncle Jun and my love for baseball. Odd that this news happens the day after Father’s Day because my uncle Jun was a surrogate father to me and I have been thinking about him since yesterday. At first, I did not want to go to baseball games because I thought they wore boring. I was a big nerd and I would bring a book to read during baseball games. But somewhere along the way baseball crept into my heart and remains there until today.

Like my uncle, Tony Gwynn did not need to say a lot because his actions always spoke for him. My uncle and I related differently than he did with the rest of his family. After he passed, my mother told me that uncle Jun would sometimes intervene when my mother and I argued. My uncle Jun was a constant in my life when I felt abandoned by my biological father. He would go with my uncle Jim and I to Padres baseball games at Jack Murphy Stadium in the years before it became Qualcomm and Petco Park. My favorite baseball games to this day are Sunday day games. I remember those hot sunny days sitting in the hard plastic chairs with my legs dangling above the ground, wearing a Padres baseball hat, and squinting in the sunlight at the players. I would be eating Cracker Jacks while uncle Jun would be shelling peanuts. During those games I would pepper my uncle Jun with questions about baseball and he taught me all about the rules of the game. He also taught me about Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken and other baseball greats. I think about it now and it was my uncle’s love for baseball that bridged the gap between young & old and immigrant & first generation. My uncle spent most of his days working in an office and I could see him physically unwind as he watched baseball games, took care of his dogs, or his orchids. He also served in the Navy and I think he was a very patriotic man and that’s what baseball meant to him too – the American Dream re-enacted during every game. You work hard, you show up, and there are ups in downs every at bat, but you still hope at the end it turns out to be a win.

Both men taught me about patience, resilience, consistency, and the importance of showing up and doing your best. Tony Gwynn was not a flashy player at least by the standards of the steroid/PSD era he was in. Maybe he did not hit the most home runs or steal bases, but in his own quiet way he was my baseball hero. He was a hero by his actions of working hard and showing up at the plate. He had the batting titles and golden gloves to prove it and did not need to boast or put down another player. He was a gentle man with class.

Both men taught me that baseball is about patience, sharing stories with the ones you love, and hope. Hope that the crack of a baseball on a bat will lead to a baseball soaring over a player’s head for single or a home run. My love of baseball will forever be rooted in those childhood memories. Am I a romantic? Yes. But I’ve often been heard that to be a baseball fan you have to be a bit of a romantic. I imagine the two of them in heaven chatting about baseball and my uncle telling Tony Gwynn all about his favorite baseball games. Rest in peace Mr. Padre and for all those who felt your presence.

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Heart of Glass?

Wow I haven’t looked at this blog in awhile. And I was just thinking that I’ve missed writing so much. Possibly because I stopped reading first person poetry and starting immerse myself in science fiction/fantasy worlds. So I’ve felt less impelled to reflect on my thoughts and words and try to understand the completely refereshing and new worlds authors have created.

But I’ve missed writing. And I was thinking about deleting this blog because I haven’t written in this in so long. And then I read “A HeartFirst Challenge Blog” and it reminded me that I took writing and ultimately, art, as a form of a challenge and not only a challenge, a challenge that makes me live HeartFirst. So I think the period of almost deleting my blog has really been my “Heart of Glass” period. I’m acknowledging that I didn’t particularly lose my heart, but that I was ignoring it to the point of see-throughness.

I love reading and I haven’t stopped that. But who blogs about reading? I suppose I could. I love writing but I haven’t blogged about that in awhile. And I love photography, am learning to love it, so I’m going to blog about that now as well.

Also, I’m ruminating on creating HeartFirst minichallenges since we (whoops!) kinda dropped the ball on the HeartFirst Challenge this year. Let me know if you have ideas!

Quote from Lifehacker who quoted Psychology Today:

[P]rimitive fear instincts are as important for self-control as the higher power to override instincts. Many of us let fear get in the way of long-term goals, and that’s not good. But it’s a mistake to think the solution is to overcome fear in general. You can’t (at least, not without a temporal lobectomy). And even if you could, you wouldn’t like the results. We need our instincts to let us know when something is just wrong — an immediate emotional evaluation that is even more powerful than complex reasoning and logic.

I’ve been letting fear hold me back. I think my new life resolution is to (in Theatre Rice words) fuck your fear.

Easier said than done though.

At a friend gathering yesterday, my friend A nearly gave me a heart attack when she said that she was 26 and turning 27. Why is this important? Because we were born the same year. And I was 95% sure I was 25. But she seemed so sure and after a literal counting of fingers starting from the year we were born- we came to the conclusion that we were 25. Haha.

Why is this fact so vital that I am 25 and not 26? You readers of whom are wiser and have more life experience chronologically 😉 may be rolling your eyes at me, but there’s a difference between 25 and 26. 25 is mid-twenties. 26 is late twenties.

Mid twenties are kind of the last few moments of being a silly young thing. Sure you can continue being a silly young thing well into your 60s. But at some point people are going to say “aren’t you a little old to be acting that way? Shouldn’t you know better?”. I feel like mid-twenties it’s still ok to be figuring yourself out and doing what you’re doing. But later twenties are when you may be making mistakes, but at least you have a goal in mind. It’s time to stop d*cking around you and move on.

Since I will be leaving my 25 year and my mid-twenties in about 2 months- I feel that it is alright to review now. It’s almost Christmas and there’s a certain briskness in the air that kind of reminds you, like a caterpillar in a cocoon, it’s time to bundle up and get ready for some change. Last night I saw friends from high school that I hadn’t seen in 7 years. And yes I’ll admit that perhaps we weren’t the best of friends in high school, but the years of experience that we have between us made me realize that time can work as well as up-all-night-let’s-talk-about-everything-in-our-lives-and-thoughts discussions. My high school friends were there. Were you there?

It was amazing to see the growth and change of the people who I knew in our awkward formative years. And yes, its pretty reassuring to know that a lot of them are still figuring out their lives. Masters degrees do not equal certainty. Some are going back and trying to finish their university degrees after a break. I guess I lived in a bubble from my college friends- the ones with awesome or well paying jobs. It seems a lot of the time that they have it figured out. And perhaps its because of the place where I went to undergrad- I should have realized all my friends were overachievers. I think I’m at an ok level of achievement in my life. Comparing myself to college friends made me feel as if I were behind. Talking to my hs friends and catching up with each other’s lives taught me that there are so many various paths to take in life that there is no “set right way” of living. That I don’t need a career, advanced degree, to be married, and all that other typical stuff to be successful or even happy.

Not to say that I’m happy where I am (I know I need to move on from my current job which is a big factor in my life). Its always better to be driven. But I think I can say that I did give into despair for a little bit concerning where I am in life. And despair is paralyzing. I just wanted to remain miserable and stuck. But last night taught me something. I shouldn’t give into despair because I’ve accomplished a lot more than I thought I could.

I love my hometown and I always will, but where I live now is the right place for me. I forgot that my only goal after undergrad was to live in the Bay Area. And I’ve accomplished that. I can say I’ve accomplished one of my life goals- to live in the place that I love. Uprooting myself 500 miles away and making a life 500 miles away is hard, but I’ve succeeded.

Now I know that I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. And that I can accomplish the things that I want. I just have to remind myself that it takes time, some mistakes, some adaptation, and some stubborn single-mindedness to get myself where I want. That’s how I accomplished one dream. Now I can accomplish more.

Any yes moving from my mid-twenties to my late twenties is significant. I think I also forgot to mention that I think the late twenties means that you can stop beating yourself up for being young. You’ve got some experience under your belt now. Sure there’s a slight edge more pressure than your early to mid-twenties, but there’s the pleasant feeling of knowing that you’ve already done so much. I think what is important to know and feel is that no matter how much older we get, we can still look back and remember what we’ve accomplished on our road to do what we’ve yet to accomplish.

Many Struggles, One Love

So today is an interesting day. It is National Coming Out Day (is it worldwide? it should be, yeah?) and Indigenous People’s Day. It’s also Canadian Thanksgiving (why did I include that? I don’t know….it is kind of ironic considering that for some Indigenous folks, T-giving doesn’t have the best connotations).

Many Struggles, One Love

I used to be an intern at the Gender Equity Resource center and it was one of those places where you always felt welcome. You felt safe and you felt a sense of community. There was also an undercurrent of activism (but then again when is there not at my old alma mater =P). Of outrage and a need for Something for Anything for JUSTICE.

And today of all days, I think is a good time for me to reiterate what I believe. As a woman of color I always felt at the crossroads of much injustice. Levels of oppression if you will. And sad to say, even in social justice minded places (for people of color) there was still a lack. I felt it. As a woman, I felt that there was a veer in the direction that “insert-ethnicity-of-choice groups” were really “insert-ethnicity-of-choice-men’s groups”. It wasn’t terribly prevalent, but there was a noticeable lack of addressing issues for women of color, queer people, and even recent immigrant rights. It was washed over with masculine and heterosexist overtones.

But I was torn, a part of me wanted to support these groups because I believe a step in the right direction is really a step in the right direction.

But at what cost? Is my race/ethnicity more important than my femininity? It’s my belief that it’s a choice that shouldn’t need to be made.

Why the separation? Why the disparity?

I don’t understand why we can’t all collectively work together on these issues. Racial discrimination is not yet a thing of the past. But there are issues such as LGBT or Indigenous People’s issues that don’t quite get the same publicity. And it’s a shame that it takes suicides and murder to grab the media’s attention.

Inequality anywhere is inequality everywhere.

I’m not saying that we need to all become “multicultural” and “forget race”- I’m saying we need to create a place where differences are not only accepted, but celebrated and honored. Respected. We need to create spaces that are welcoming and safe. Unfortunately those places are few and far between, but until we can make a world that way- I’ll settle for more minds and more spaces becoming that way.

Words are powerful. Words can hurt and words can heal. Words can express what’s on your mind and can change people’s minds. So let me leave you with a few choice words:

Celebrate differences. Many Struggles, One Love.

Published!

OMG! I got published in a chapbook! And I’m listed as an author on goodreads. An author. On goodreads.

I took a poetry workshop with the Oakland Word as part of the Oakland Public Library. It was a class about Urban Poetics with Oscar Bermeo. This is a nice review of the last class by another amazing poet Barbara Jane Reyes.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with the amazing and talented Oscar Bermeo (who googles himself and will hopefully see this post! Hello Oscar! =D) and the rest of my workshop/classmates (who are also in the chapbook). The workshop was full of information, stories, and passion. I really enjoyed the concept of “Urban Poetics” as we are part of the city. The cities we live in forms us, our opinions, our views. And even what “view” we see is a reflection of our own position in the city. Race, class, gender, politics, and personality all form a part of the city of the “urban”. Is this a real city? An ideal city? An amalgam of your own impressions? Those are the questions that guided our class through the vast “landscape” of urban poetics. I learned of different forms of poetry such as the postcard poem, the prose poem, and even learned of flash fiction (sort of like a short story that is almost a poem). I thought it was a great workshop and I appreciated how amenable the workshop was to poets of differing levels and skills. I’ll definitely integrate more of the “urban” into my writing.

The ebook is called “This Be The Town”. Check it out here or or see the listing on goodreads. The pieces I wrote are called “Kalamansi Trees” and “Public Transportation”.

I know my nom de plume is supposed to be “D. G. Quebada”, but I guess I forgot to mention it. Or maybe I don’t need the nom de plume? Gah I don’t know. Anyway that’s neither here nor there. And I’d probably, if given more time work on “Kalamansi Trees”. But I learned that all poets never feel their work is done. It was as done as it needed to be. And I’ll probably rework it and it might manifest in more works in the future.

Here’s a snippet from “Public Transportation”

Excuses to stay enclosed
In our private spaces
On public transportation

ALRIGHT! I’ll keep this momentum up and keep on writing, submitting, and being published.

😉

Thirst.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
-Dr. Howard Thurman

[from Ruby Veridiano’s blog. Good luck Miss Lady!]

Last night there was a segment on the local news about stagnant, smelly water in Bay Area faucets. And I was just in SoCal where television ads kept emphasizing the importance of water conservation because we are in a drought. Droughts make me think of deserts. And the images of dry and cracked earth. It evokes themes of barrenness and desolation.

And it reminds me of my own creativity and my own (lack of commitment) to writing.

Dramatic imagery, I know. But I need to wake up. I need to “come alive” as the quote says. My own wellspring of creativity is stagnant and in danger of drying up. I’m in a drought.

Wake up, girl! Come alive!

I know what’s holding me back. I know what causes this writer’s block.

Fear. Indecision. Lack of confidence. Maybe even a lack of knowing who I am and what I want.

I don’t want to move forward because I am scared of change. And either I fail or I succeed.

Comfortable.

That’s what I am- comfortable with my status quo.

But I hope I am making some changes in my life that will help me out of this drought. I hope somewhere in me there is a source of passion and creativity that is just blocked. Like a spring that is blocked by rocks. An inadvertent reservoir is building up, building up, building up and will flow over the rocks and reach my thirsty lips.