Allowing and Embracing Stillness
I have a tendency to move like my mind. Fast, curious and hopping from one idea to the next. I never thought it would affect me in any ways growing up, but now as there are so many parts of my life moving, I’ve come to learn that staying still among so much moving can be one of the most beautiful and rewarding gifts I can give to myself.
To give some context, I just made some pretty grand transitions in my life. My year has been one of lots of movement, happiness, confusion, joy and anxiety. I just moved to Los Angeles across the country, and I have not been the kindest person to myself. I’ve been judgmental, impatient and pretty hard on myself. In all aspects— creatively, health wise and emotionally. And it hasn’t been fair. In moments of movement, I’ve picked up the habit of leaving myself behind and forgetting what I’ve done to get to where I am, today. I’ve forgotten that it is OK to rest, especially after the year I’ve had.
Let me paint you a picture of where I was August 3rd, 2018. Most likely, I woke up 5 AM to make it to my 6AM shift at a coffee shop. I had quit a super toxic work environment a couple months back. I was working at a radio station in DC where the host and EP had said some pretty fucked up things to me. After noticing a pattern of how they treated the women on the team and when it came to my turn, I didn’t want to put up with it. So I dipped with nothing lined up.
So there I was, in the humidity of August cooking in a tiny kitchen. I honestly really came to love feeding people and finding quiet time to myself washing dishes. I hadn’t worked in the food industry for about 10 years so it was a humble awakening. It was a joy I had to learn to embrace by misplacing a shame and turning it into one of the greatest lessons of my young adulthood. Most likely after getting my tips, I left to workout out intensively (physical fitness was one of the only things treating my anxiety at the time!), then finish up the day editing remotely for a magazine focused on women musicians. I picked up a freelance gig to still keep me in the music journalism world.
Since then, these past 12 months have been a whirlwind. Every decision since then, have brought me here writing this. A couple of weeks later I found myself in Portland, OR to meet up with the editors of the magazine I was freelancing for. It was pretty dope! The trees, the food, the music. As soon as I got back, I had two offers for new job opportunities in the field I wanted to pursue. After some negotiation, I became a documentary producer with a news organization in DC. While still keeping my freelance gig, I went from struggling on basic necessities, to picking a wedding date with a venue. I had been engaged for almost a year by then. My husband and I were in the beginning stages of planning our wedding when I had quit my job — so obvio, we had to put planning on hold. Once I got my full time job position we picked it up almost immediately. Coming from where we come from, we knew we had to pay for our own wedding so for those next 10 months we grinded! We hustled!
I was working up to 60 hours a week with both of my jobs. After commuting from DC to home, I’d usually continue working for a couple more hours. On weekends, I would put lots of hours in for my other job as a magazine editor. As a documentary producer, I also travelled for work. It was such an amazing opportunity—I went to Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri and Florida. I’d seen parts of the country I never thought I would be in, and it was beautiful. I produced a piece focusing on Black maternal health and connected with mujeres kind enough to share their stories with me. And I’m still finishing up a piece on Climate Migration. But I was also very tired. When I wasn’t setting up interviews or being on camera during these trips, I’d be editing from the hotel room, or picking out flowers for the wedding. And because of the person I am, I of course continued to pitch ideas to my other freelance gig with a podcast at NPR. It helped me continue to pursue my passion : telling stories on Latinx culture and music.
Then April came around and the world paused for a day. I breathed the lightest I ever have in my life. I promised to my love in front of some of the people I love the most that I will be with them por vida. And man, I can’t explain the amount of happiness and joy I had those days. People across my life, from living in Wisconsin, Texas, El Salvador, Colombia and Brazil were there with me in person or in spirit. I walked down the aisle with both of my parents at my side, what a privilege. Everything I worked my ass off for 10 months, had paid off. I wanted to convey the magical feeling to my family and friends, a feeling I have felt since being with JD. And it was worth it.
Amid the movement of my passions, work and future planning, I was genuinely excited about the work I was doing and new life I was beginning. But there still something that wasn’t sitting right with me. There was a calling that has become unfulfilled. For years my husband and dreamed up a future in California to pursue not only new opportunities, but a new lifestyle for the future we wanted. Washington DC and the work surrounding it became a place I didn’t see that future in anymore. So 8 weeks ago I accepted a temporary opportunity in LA. We packed up our house— a house that is my heart— and road tripped across the country.
We went to Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. Here’s a bit of our trip:
And man, we explored everything we could. I had a whole plan on writing the whole trip, but everything was too magical to pick up a notebook. Soon, I will begin to write again.
As soon as we got to LA, I’ve been wanting to do everything. I started treating myself in a way that wasn’t being fair to myself. I have been impatient creatively. I have been not nice to myself in my health journey. And it came down to a point where my anxiety made me feel like I didn’t have enough time. I had been hustling this past year in a very different way . So much so that I didn’t know how to rest anymore. Rest meant something different to me now. Now that I have more time now, I have a very unique opportunity to invest in myself I have neglected this past year.
This means literally taking my time with things. I do not have to rush as much any more. I can walk slower. I don’t have to burden Saturdays with 10 too many things to do. This means journaling. This means trying to start writing shitty poetry and short stories. This means workshopping them to make them what they deserve. This means painting again. This means pitching those panels I’ve been wanting to pitch. This means reaching out to outlets and companies and people I’ve always wanted to work with in the back of my mind. This means collecting more vinyl. This means finally learning how to DJ. This means learning more about what wellness means for a me, a Salvi-Colombian mujer wanting to create in his world. This means creating community with dope mujeres. This means being open and putting myself out there. This means being the person I’ve always wanted to be. And I won’t do this all at once. Oh no, never that again. This will come in pieces. Because it deserves that. Because I deserve this, all of it. To allow to embrace the stillness, is to allow peace.