Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Gone Again

With the floods in Texas and Louisiana and the hate group uprisings we're seeing, it's challenging to overcome the guilt of living beyond that dismal backdrop. Donating money, marching and calling representatives seems more all-consuming and definitely more important than self-care. In my case, I often confuse self-care with overindulgence, which is dangerous, unhealthy and untrue. Focusing on myself comes with a wallop of thick, hot guilt. How dare I look forward to traveling when there are people losing everything a few states away? Who am I to be happy when there is so much to fear as a WOC living in the Midwest? These thoughts and more have been ravaging my thoughts and robbing me of sleep. Yet, I have to fight those feelings and move on with an agenda I have set and reset for myself my whole life. Thankfully, I have learned a few ways to ignore the side of me that can easily fall into despair, and appease her with promises of action plans that will get done along with caring for my sanity.

In times such as these it is important to take care of one's self so you have the energy to face the tasks that take so much mental strength. Life is tough and lately I have been finding it harder and harder to find peace. While there are some areas in my life that bring me joy, all it takes it to read a current headline or see an all-too-frequent scowl on my teen's face and that joy evaporates. It is replaced with the feeling that I am not doing enough. But when is enough really enough?

I have never had the answer to that and sadly, I can't imagine I ever will. Every day I feel like I fail at being enough. That has always been my normal. I don't know if it's my Type-A personality, my need to please, or the constant unrest that comes from feeling like I am forever chasing my true purpose, but I cannot think of a time where I felt that what I put into the world was enough. However, when your world is rocked as mine was, even your inadequacies take on a new feeling.

Death has given my "Me" side a louder voice. Seeing how fragile we are as humans put things into a different perspective. At the end of my life there will be countless instances of when I was not enough. There is no escaping that. However, I try hard to shift that thinking to look inward. I want to be the one who matters in the end. When my time comes, I want to have done enough for myself.

I don't mean supporting myself financially or being independent. I want to feel fulfilled knowing whatever ending I get, I created the opportunities that fed my soul. 

I do that in a variety of ways but my favorite is through travel. I have the privilege to leave all the negativity behind and force myself out of my comfort zone. There is no therapy like traveling. It renews me better than all the counseling and gym time in the world. I crave it. 

That's why I am answering the call to leave all that I know and go explore a new part of the globe. It's been two years since I've done it and that is by far too long. While I plan it that way, if luck and funds were on my side, it would be a way more frequent occurrence. That said, I planned, pinched and saved and am going to put aside my guilt and visit a place that is high on my bucket list. I am going to unplug (mostly) and focus on hiking, snorkeling, soaking in hot springs, zip lining, sightseeing and my favorite travel activity of all time, no matter where I go: EATING.

Past blogs have explained how I used to think that traveling was gone forever the night I lost Warren but I have since readjusted my thinking and realize that only my own death will take that from me. Can you guess where I'm headed?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


As I've blogged before, every year a group of friends and I organize the Warren Morrow Latin Music Festival. We like to call it the WMLMF, or #WMLMF for the savvier among us.

It started as a concert in 2012 and grew into a festival in 2016 when we broke the bank (our little bank) bringing a Grammy-winning band, La Santa Cecilia as a headliner. It was their first time playing in this city and we hope they will be back. 

This year we brought QUITAPENAS, which translates to take away your worries. The group had performed in neighboring states but never in ours, so we were proud once again to host a unique band to the lineup. 

On all accounts, minus a few hiccups, the event was a success. The venue looked beautiful and river and skyline backdrops were amazing. The weather cooperated and the crowds came. It was the largest we've had since the inaugural year. 

It was made possible by a small but mighty group of dedicated volunteers who believed in the event and in the legacy it preserves.

These events are always bittersweet. On one hand, it revives me to feel the positive energy and love that's been shown since the event started. On the other, it is painful to be fully happy putting so much work into an event that Warren would love, yet will not be part of. Every year I think it will be my last year, and every year I can't walk away. Aside from the positive impact such a celebration has on sharing culture through music, I stay because I have built a family through these volunteers who give so selflessly of their time and talents, just as Warren did when he was alive. It is more than a labor of love to us and it shows in how much time and sacrifice we put into the festival.

The Crew that makes WMLMF possible
Highlights of this year's festival included:
  • Warren's parents dancing to nearly every song while making new friends
  • The 2017 t-shirt designed by a 14-year-old high school student
  • A bilingual radio commercial
  • Being featured on a local television station
  • Ticket searches throughout the city 
  • A stellar lineup
  • More advance ticket sales than ever before
  • Seeing my family enjoy themselves
  • The feeling of survival and accomplishment when the event was over and we had another peaceful, beautiful festival to look back on
  • All the hands and hearts that came together to make it happen

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