Ticking away

“You’re as young as you’ll ever be.”

I’ve heard that statement in many different ways. In real life, in TV shows, and in English, and in Spanish. It meant close to nothing to me, until now. Beyond all the other things the pandemic took from us (health, jobs, normalcy, family members), it also took time. It took away the structure and stability of time. The clock was ticking but not in the same way. The last three years have felt intertwined and overlapping. The stubborn hold on normalcy as we watched an event unfold that was anything but normal. Here we were trying to work from home, while bodies were piling up. Here we were trying to be productive, while we watched positive rates go up.

It felt like time stood still but, of course, it didn’t. We’re all 3 years older, regardless of how unsettled it might feel. How unfair it feels to have lost those years. How horrible it is to complain when so many people didn’t make it to the other side.

And as time does, it keeps ticking away. I’m the youngest I will ever be.


Finding comfort in the illogical

My toxic trait is that I want everything to have an explanation. Well that, and eating in bed. I know. I know. But maybe writing that will make me stop doing it?

Also, did I say “want” everything to have an explanation? I meant “need”. I need everything to have an explanation.

It helps me feel calm to know there is a reason even if I don’t agree with the reason. It helps me empathize, humanize and relate to others. But here’s the thing, plenty of actions has no logic behind them. Plenty of people do things, believe things, and don’t believe things based on nothing. Sometimes that action is minor, and sometimes it’s destructive.

But I can’t pause life like it’s a video game while I sit in silence and try to assign a reason to someone else’s actions. Some reason that will help me feel like “I figured it out. I can move on now.”

But I haven’t figured it out. I can’t. The “reasons” I find are just projected emotions that I’m applying to someone else’s life. The world keeps going, it doesn’t stop while I try to find the logic that will help me feel comfortable about everyone’s motives. The world doesn’t care about my comfort level. It keeps going. It’s tremendous and beautiful and constant, in that way. It will keep moving, and so should I.


RE: Post Pandemic Languishing

Art by Manshen Lo for The New York Times

I recently read and loved this piece from Adam Grant for The New York Times that defined our collective mood post (undefinable stage) pandemic we’re currently in as “languishing.”

It’s basically the purgatory region between that exists somewhere between depression and contentment. It is burnout adjacent, but somehow you’re still functioning. It’s the foggy brain, the lack of emotion, the lack of direction, it’s the collective meh feeling that I can’t shale.

Most of my days are filled with a list of tasks or toddler-related activities, I’m busy, I’m doing things. Yet, I feel like I’m floating and I am struggling to focus. I have some hope, but that hope hasn’t evolved into contentment or excitement.

It’s the in-between. I have a page that lists COVID vaccine numbers by state, and each day I refresh this page to see the number go up. At some point the numbers will get so high, we move past languishing to just “normal” stress?

It’s all too much, yet too blurry to really think about. But in the meantime I’m grateful to read that I’m not alone. Naming that gnawing lack of focus helps give it some direction as we continue to wait until we slowly emerge from this moment, to the next moment that won’t be perfect but will hopefully have some joy.


Quarantine malaise: Day 211

About twenty times during the last seven months, I’ve thought about writing this. This being an account of what quarantine has felt like. Something for me to read in a year, and hopefully revel in the weirdness of it all. That is, if we’re out of this in a year.

For the last seven months, my home has turned from a place where we rested, ate and slept to a workplace, a daycare, an office….and a home. It’s a full house. Four adults, one toddler. It’s been a lot. A lot of bodies, but also a lot of emotions under one roof.

It’s been eye-opening, heartbreaking, illuminating, wonderful and awful. It’s brought me closer to the people most important to my life, and also made me want to run far away about 200 different times.

I keep telling anyone who’ll listen that I’ve been feeling like I’m zoomed in on a picture, and I’m so close I have no idea what the picture is supposed to be. I want to zoom out and get that perspective, but I’m stuck.

The worst part of this (it’s really hard to pick one “worst part”) is that not only are we living through this traumatic event together, but we’re also trying to find meaning in a situation that has no solution. There’s no easy narrative or endpoint, but we’re all trying to write that story.

This story has no ending, and it’s hard to tell if we’re in the middle or the beginning. So the only thing to do is lean into the cliches, take it moment by moment and get comfortable with not having a plan.

I hope when I read this in a year, or ten, I have gained that perspective. I hope we’ve all made sense of what the hell this moment is, and we can appreciate the fact that we lived through it.


Gentrification Guilt


The tall trees lining each side of the street cast a cool shadow on everything as we drive down the busiest street in our clean suburban town. Each time we make this drive, my mom makes the same comment as she looks out the window.

“Me encanta los arboles.”

She loves the trees, the well-kept streets, and the paved walkways.

I can imagine these well-lit streets they now drive every day are a stark contrast to the streets my parents grew up in. My parents grew up in a small town in a small country. They’ve called Los Angeles home for the last thirty years, but a large part of their identity is still rooted in that small town miles away in El Salvador.

Over thirty years ago, my parents were new to this country and landed in neighborhoods full of faces and stories much like their own. Neighborhoods that were, and for the most part are, mostly Latino.

As my parents tell it, moving out of that neighborhood became a prime focus for them. Saving enough money to raise their family, my brother and me, somewhere else. Their version of the American dream was one day buying a home outside of these neighborhoods they first called home.

For the last fifteen years, they’ve lived in a quiet suburban town. The type of place where people walk their dog late at night and jog early in the morning with no fear of who’s around the corner.

The pride that washes over my parents face when they talk about their suburban home is palpable. Moving out of those neighborhoods was an accomplishment. These are the same neighborhoods that so many people are trying to keep Latino by fighting the looming effects of gentrification.

There’s a part of me that feels a tinge of shame when they talk about moving out like it was their greatest escape and highest accomplishment.

But my parents’ identity as Latinos doesn’t rely on their zip code. It’s something they wear regardless of what they say or what they wear.

The perception of my identity relies on the narrative that surrounds Latinos. The way we dress, the way we talk, the neighborhoods we call home.

Somehow calling the suburbs home stains your Latino cred. As if, we can only exist as the truest version of ourselves when surrounded by other brown faces.

It’s the neverending push and pull of being a hyphenate-American. Having to defend and wear our pride with intent to remind people here and there that we’re aware we’re American plus a little something more.


Redefining Roles


The first issue with being a writer is being comfortable with calling yourself a writer. Something about that declaration instantly makes me feel like a fraud as if there is a word count minimum that you have to hit in a day…a week…a month to be able to call yourself a writer.

I’ve worked almost a decade working as some sort of marketing writer/editor/content creator/marketer and yet it still makes me feel uncomfortable calling myself a writer.

Now that I’m taking on another title – Julian’s mom – I’m learning to define the different roles I play in my life. This includes writer. Like everything else, it’s an evolving title that changes every other day.

But I’m learning to embrace it and seek it out.

A few weeks ago, I pitched a story to Fierce by Mitu – and they accepted it, and they’ve published my story – all about my journey to becoming a stay-at-home mama.

The whole process has me feeling encouraged and (for the time being) more comfortable with calling myself a writer.

Read the thing I wrote here!




6 Weeks In

The worst part of being a new parent beside the lack of sleep is that all those cliches you hear people say are true.

“It’ll be the hardest few weeks of your life but nothing will compare to the feeling of seeing your baby for the first time.”

Nothing will ever compare to seeing Julian’s face for the first time. After many, many, many hours of labor, it felt like a dream…completely surreal. Even though I was covered in sweat and blood, I never felt stronger and more capable. Bringing him into this world is my highest accomplishment.

In the last six weeks, I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been watching my son’s eyes light up as he slowly discovers new things every day. But I’ve also been the saddest, at 3 in the morning crying because my body isn’t cooperating and nothing seems to soothe him.

I’m slowly, barely, sort of starting to feel a little like myself. My body isn’t (as) sore and I’m adjusting to living life on very little sleep (coffee helps). But what they say is true, it’s all worth it.

Here’s to the next few weeks, and the next few months, and forever after that. Here’s to the most beautiful boy I know.



Estas Historias


My home and comfort have been built around painful recollections of guerilla warfare.

I’ve heard these stories all my life – missing people, blood on the kitchen floor, rushing past hung bodies as you walk to school.

These stories are told over breakfast and in between drinks. Cushioned with laughter, saddled with sadness, and said with forced smiles and cold stares. All said in the same accent, in the same language that reminds me of home.

Living miles away from these memories, they’re still the building blocks of the two people that make me everything I am. These stories of war and a tiny country torn by war are a part of me.

So as I sit here, four days away from when you’re supposed to make your arrival, I wonder what place they’ll have in your life.

Will you find comfort in these sad stories? Estas historias, will they make you feel at home?

Is there any need for these stories to live on? Maybe they belong in the past so you can build a new identity not built on the foundation of war.

As your mother, I just hope that these stories find a natural place in your upbringing. That each word lands smoothly and fits perfectly in your life.

That estas historias find you when you need them and when you need to feel strong, when you need to feel inspired and when you need to feel grateful.

I hope they serve you, and I hope they ground you. I hope you feel connected to this country you may never visit. I hope you feel connected to this generation that sacrificed everything for you to one day be here and not worry about a soldier standing outside your door.

Estas historias are difficult. They’re heartbreaking, and they’re heavy. They’re heavy with the lives that were lost, but they’re a part of my mother and father, and so they’re a part of your mother, and so I hope they’re a part of you.