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Top 20 0f 2020 Pt. 2

Hello! Welcome back. This is part 2 of 2, of My Top 20 of 2020:


1. Growing Closer to My Mama

It’s in my adulthood, that I have gotten better at building my relationship with my mom. I believe that life has also aligned us at this time to meet each other as more whole beings. I love that we are both into personal development and we get to share with each other what we’re learning. Throughout this past year, she shared with me stories of her past and her dreams of being a journalist when she was young, but as the eldest daughter in their family, she had to take another route that best provided opportunities for her younger siblings. She also shared with me small moments of her journey when she was sick and how it became a calling to begin her own personal healing. These are the conversations I wish I could bottle up and save for later to look back on. As I am getting older, I am seeing her as more than just a mom. She’s her own independent person with dreams that she still wants to pursue and it’s been beautiful to witness knowing how much she gave up for her family. I was also proud to see her start her own business from home and start something she can call her own. To celebrate all her hard work, I took her to the Conservatory of Flowers, somewhere she always wanted to visit, but never had the time to. Mama is the OG Plant Mom and so to be surrounded by all kinds of greenery, well she was as happy as a kid in Disneyland.

2. Quality Time with Soul Siblings

As an introvert, I love my ME time, but it also reminded me that I draw energy from having meaningful conversations with people I love. This past year, I noticed how conversations with my friends and siblings went beyond the surface. We shared our experiences on family, relationships, jobs, and how we’re navigating life through a pandemic and social unrest in our society. At the same time, we shared reflections that brought us joy and celebrated the small and big wins in life like, “I really like living out in SoCal and see myself here for a while before moving back to the Bay”, or “I want to start designing earrings”, or “I had to check my Auntie who said some problematic things over Zoom Holidays and it felt good to speak up”. It was also heartwarming to hear my siblings’ dreams and desires in life like having a grand kitchen and a bathtub in their future home and wanting to live a more entrepreneurial life. We’re all on a journey to make our life more our own, and I find a sense of courageousness in that, especially having immigrant identities. Another favorite of mine has been watching a show with a friend every week over Zoom and having a discussion to debrief and analyze the show. We shared our theories of what could happen, our favorite characters and while watching these shows, it gave us space to share our own stories. Through such trying times, it’s been comforting to see personal growth from the people I love and also grow alongside them.

3. Attending with API/Womxn of Color Events Online

Another highlight from 2020 was attending online events and community gatherings. These spaces helped me connect outside of my personal bubble and gave space for me to learn more about myself and the world around me. It helped me realize that there’s a much larger world out there than I imagined and people have such amazing journeys to share. The three big events I attended were the Pinayista Summit in May, Womxn of Color Summit in July, and Pilipinx American Public Health Conference: Bayanihan, Reclaim Our Health in November. I also joined some API community discussions, events, and Wellness Mastermind talks throughout the year. All these experiences solidified that we as humans depend on each other and our communities to live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. We create, advocate, heal for and with each other. It’s also been a space for me to learn how to receive from others and take up space without fear or guilt. So I thank all the community space holders out there. Y’all are holding down sacred spaces for so many that need it. It’s not always seen, but community spaces spark moments of personal growth and human connections that transcend beyond the given time spent on Zoom.

4. 1st Time Voting with My Family

What a momentous moment to have voted with my family this past year. Having immigrant parents, they spend most of their day working on their feet and do not have the luxury of time to navigate the very difficult voting system in America. It’s truly a complicated process and not the most accessible to BIPOC and immigrant communities. After four years of Trump and Duterte (President of the Philippines), there was no more excuse not to vote. So this year, we all voted together as a family. Mama received her US citizenship two years ago and this was her first time voting in the presidential election and in the 20+ years that Papa lived in this country with his citizenship, this was also his first time voting! One night, my Ate (older sister) hosted an impromptu voting information night in our living room. I called my Kuya (older brother) on the phone for him to join and together, we went through all the candidates and propositions. My sister and I did research prior and presented the information to the family and together had a discussion on who and what to vote for. We had differences in opinions here and there, which was nice because I got to hear more of their perspectives. At the end of it all, we agreed on most things and most importantly used our voices to vote.

5. Learning to play Tennis

I am not an athlete whatsoever, but always admired the disciple and mindsets of athletes. So, this past summer, I asked my partner who is an avid tennis player to teach me. At first, I wanted to know more about his world and get a better understanding of what he enjoys so much about tennis. When I started out, I succkkked, really bad! Ahah and it was uncomfortable to learn something new and be really bad at it. I easily got discouraged with every ball I missed and mentally beat myself up for it. Before I knew it, playing tennis became a mental battle with myself. Do I dwell on the past or focus on the next chance I have? I also realized how tense and stiff my body was. I didn’t know it required the mind and body to flow together in harmony during physical activity. This was something new to me and it was uncomfortable. But it helped me come out of my comfort zone and grow. Every time I get to play, I learn how to use the momentum of my body to draw power in my hits. I practice mental focus, mind-body connection, and with repetition and muscle memory, I am getting better!

FIVE Moments Spent With Myself:

1.Unearthing My Privileges

The deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and so many other Black lives unjustly killed by police brutality ignited another wave of the Black Lives Matter Movement and again magnified police brutality and racism in our country. Studying Ethnic Studies in college, issues of racism, sexism, class, capitalism etc., was not new to me, but something about his year, made me look inward in a way I never did before. This past year really made me reflect and confront my own privileges. As a non-Black, non-Muslim, heterosexual, able body, college education person, and immigrant granted U.S citizenship, I have privilege. As a Filipino with deep strong ties to colonization, I have heavy ingrained thoughts and behaviors that have made me consciously and unconsciously strive for whiteness, which resulted in developing self-hate and bias towards different social groups. There's probably more that I have yet to uncover and more I still need to learn. I go through cycles of frustration, guilt, shame, and discomfort, but I am learning to lean more into this discomfort and have difficult conversations with myself and the people around me. To disrupt generations of ingrained harmful thoughts and behaviors we have towards each other is difficult and necessary work. We must tap into our radical imagination to create a more equitable and just society because our liberation is all tied to each other.

2. Meditation & Journalling, Podcasts

This past year, I have redefined and deepened my relationship with Self Care. In college, it was trying to meet the basics of eating, sleeping, Netflixing, quality time with friends, and trying to work out here and there. It was what I knew and what I had the capacity for at that time in my life. As I’m “adulting”, Self Care has evolved. It has become,” How do I become more comfortable with myself in my own thoughts and in my own skin?” I realized it had to be more than what I did for myself in college. My previous work taught me that there are 8 Dimensions of Wellness: Environmental, Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Social, Financial, Occupational and Spiritual. This past year, I wanted to focus on Emotional, Spiritual, Financial, and Intellectual Wellness. To me this looked like meditating, journaling, paying off student loans, and listening to podcasts. These are habits I had to learn over time and honestly still habits in the making. I learned to make them small and easy to integrate into my daily routine. At first, yes it felt like a chore, but over time and with consistency, it became more natural and has helped me breathe easier in life.

3. Personal “Me” Dates

As part of my Self Care, I also like taking myself out on dates. Pre-covid, I loved treating myself to see a movie solo and having all the popcorn to myself. Sadly, it’s no longer an option and it's one of the greatest things I miss. However, I still wanted to carry this tradition of having solo adventure dates with myself once a month. It’s a full day completely to myself and I get to do whatever I want without having to think about someone else. And it felt good and helped recharge my energy as someone who spends a lot of time thinking of others. Yes, I am a guilty people pleaser(my survival mechanism) and also someone learning how to take up more space in the world. As I begin to be more intentional about filling my cup, I become more comfortable taking up space and more I can authentically give to others. It’s also time I spend with my inner child and let her take the lead on exploration. So solo covid “Me” dates look like going on long drives, listening to music I like, singing ballads with no one listening, walks at the park, treating myself to food and shopping.

4. Video Reflections

Similar to journaling, I wanted to try another way to express myself. I started to do video diary reflections where I just recorded my thoughts on camera. Being on camera is something my adult self is uncomfortable with, but my inner child craves lol so I want to embrace it more and lean into this discomfort. There’s still something very vulnerable and intimate when sharing oneself on camera- even though we live in an era of sharing our lives online. I think it still takes guts and to be authentic and unpolished on camera, takes even more guts. For now, I keep these video diary reflections private. It’s my library of thoughts to look back on to see how far I’ve come and also a reminder of how much more I want to keep going.

5. Cooking

If you haven’t made homemade bread yet, then have you really lived through 2020? Aha kidding, I have not made homemade bread myself, but I’m pretty proud of myself for improving my cooking. It’s attributed to the privilege of working from home and access to food. I’ve taken this opportunity to nourish my family and myself. My parents currently work at a grocery store and so their job has become a lot more taxing and demanding. Like them, I try to show my love through food and I try to cook for them so they have more time to rest. Something about cooking is also very calming and meditative. I love mornings where I could put on music or a podcast and cook up a meal. I also got to try new things and made chocolate chip cookies, seafood paella, croquettes, butternut squash soup, and really random dishes that I put together inspired by Youtube and Instagram. So it’s safe to say I’m still a beginner. Balancing flavor is a practice and an art y’all. Much admiration for cooks out there.

If you’re still here and read through all my reflections, wow, thank you :) Again, this was inspired by one of my favorite Youtubers, Rowena Tsai, who encouraged me to practice gratitude through reflection and journaling. Her template of the Top 20 of 2020 is found here. I’m curious to know, what’s on your top 20 of 2020?

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