Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 5: Ysa

[Another shortish and not terribly profound post, I'm sleepy...]
I'm home! I've made it safe and sound! Boy, I tell ya what, my connection in SFO was literally a "last call for Durazo" event as my previous flight from Boston got delayed... heh, nothing quite like the threat of missing that last flight in the leg of a multi-hour journey to get your heart pumping. However, on the going-any-slower-and-it'd-be-in-reverse shuttle from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1, I practiced a mantra as I breathed deeply and actually relaxed in my seat, it went a little something like:

"Relax. How can you, by worrying, change the outcome of this event? Furthermore, how can worrying add a single moment to your life? It is, what is... And what will be, will be."

If you're thinking that sounds familiar, check out Matt 6:25-34. :-) For a while I pretty much had Matt 5 and 6 memorized I read that scripture so often, heh. Anyway, yeah, it was surprising how effective it was at immediately calming me. Maybe it was because I realized it was something totally and completely out of my control, maybe it was because I was wicked tired by that point, but maybe I can choose to think it was a power of the mind over the situation, sort of thing.

IN ANY CASE... I was pleased.

So I got on my tiny puddle jumper and landed safely in SLO a quick 45 minutes later and alas! I was greeted by family of choice, Myla and Ysa! I had been looking forward to seeing them for the past week or so and here it was, finally! The day had come for me to return in all my glory... or something. Not two minutes had passed of me being in the car when little miss smarty pants, Ysa (my 3 yr old niece) says to me, "Chacha, why do you have so much things?" *palm to face* Dangit, child, aren't you supposed to be too young to realize an absurd amount of personal belongings?! Clearly that wasn't the case...

Alas, after a delicious meal (OMGOSH FILIPINO FOOD IS THE BEST. MYLA, YOU AND YOUR MOM ARE THE BEST!!) I tried to get Princess Ysa to lie down for a nap, but after 4 readings of Mr. Bear, it was evident that wasn't going to happen without something special. So I convinced her to snuggle up (totally what I come home for! snuggle time with the kiddos!!) and we played on my iPhone for a couple min while whispering how to catch the mouse in the game, then partook in the age old tradition of story telling. I set the stage but requested the help on a few points. Namely, when asked the name and type of animal Princess Ysa was to ride off to see the magical forest, she responded with "Mike the chicken" (Mike is her dad, also my confirmation sponsor and epically awesome hero on so many levels). And when they encountered a talking animal? Myla the talking lizard. Hah! Kids... man do I love 'em. After some trials and victories involving a talking lady bug who was grumpy because she didn't get to drink hot coco (that was all my imagination, btw), the wee little Ysa lying in the crook of my arm was vast asleep.

And then it hit me-- this afternoon was perfect.

Perfect.

Sure I was tired, and maybe a little groggy cuz of allergies, but getting picked up from the airport by loved ones who weren't even "blood relatives" (a term I'm finding to carry less and less weight these days), fed well, and then that deeply moving bonding time of a nap with biggest loves of your life?! What more is there?! Back at MIT if you were to ask me what I look forward to most when returning home, or even if you were to ask my friends, I'm pretty sure all would report I brag about "my kiddos" (Gabgab 5yr, and Ysa 3yr) and their parents/my mom/three other close friends from here, seeing my cat (maybe sometimes listed first, Sweetpea, I love you so much!), and then eating the good CA produce.

It's my family of choice though that has been so supportive these past couple of years, and a heck of a lot more present than a lot of my own "blood relatives." For that, I am eternally grateful. I love you guys dearly, and I'm oh so excited to see where our futures take us! Rest assured though, regardless, I am so rocking a side ponytail, neon leggings with leg warmers, and wrist bands when I pick the kiddos up from school one day. I am SO gonna be that "ate" (tagalog for older sister, pronounced ah-tay).

Much love,
Chacha

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 3&4: Confidence & Humility

Well, sadly folks, I didn't end up gong to Maine yesterday. I'm at bro's apt with a stuffy nose and plumb exhausted. I figure I'll wait until August when I return and am not slightly under the weather. I did however manage to clean bro's kitchen (dishes, swept, mopped, etc.) and vacuum the living room/bedroom. Surprisingly therapeutic. :)

Anyway, today's post shall be short, lucky you! (And a joint effort of yesterday's...)

While cleaning the kitchen I listened to a playlist of One Direction for like 5 hours straight (oh goodness, I do not want to hear them for a long time). Of course, their like 6 songs really all sound like variations of the same song, so I sort of zoned them out. However, one line really bothered me (though not enough to rinse the suds off my hands to change the station) from their song "What Makes You Beautiful." It reads:

You don't know you're beautiful,
Oh oh,
That's what makes you beautiful.

I'm sorry? Come again? Let's put aside that I'm overanalyzing a song written by a bunch of boys in their late teens, hah... I'm going to hope that what they're referring to is that this girl is beautiful and it's her humility about her physical appearances that make her even more attractive and NOT that it's her lack of self-esteem about her physical appearances that adds to her allure. (Another post for another day is how jaded I fear I have become, you guys might laugh, but seriously!)

I mean, I get the sentiment that I think they're trying to get at, that is, females often are so harsh on themselves (it's shocking to hear to what extent we degrade our own looks/attractiveness) that it's surprising to hear when on the outside, others' would view us as very attractive. But that's just it, what we see in ourselves needs to be what we seek approval of, not others' opinions. I'm certainly as much to blame for the self-hating perpetuation but I hope to change that. I'm told that confidence is an attractive trait in women, from men's perspective, but it's a spectrum, right? Like, no one thinks an overly confident person, one who is "all up in your business" waving fingers and metaphorically-literally blinding you with sparkles, is attractive. Well, some do, but addressing the vast majority of "healthy" individuals capable of "healthy" relationships (quotes because that too needs to be defined but I lack the mental capacity to get into semantics...)-- there is a happy medium between humility and confidence. I find that line a very hard one to walk. Furthermore, I find that it's hard to genuinely be confident and once one becomes as such, how to not come across as arrogant. I think this is especially hard when one has spent so long not thinking fondly of oneself. (Not sure why I'm talking in the third person, but I'll roll with it...) For instance, I had a suite-mate last year who seemingly genuinely thought she was hot stuff. And why shouldn't she? She was cute, smart, spunky... What bothered me sometimes was the way she brought about her confidence, it was like, she was saying things to try to convince not just others around her, but also herself. At times I envied her sense of self-assurance, but then I realized that maybe she wasn't all too confident in herself after all. It's not like I get happy at the thought of doubting one's appearances/attractiveness (note: the two are not the same, another blog post in the making), not at all. I just... I find it really hard to value myself as a whole package, awesome deal, and to do so without seeming arrogant. I want confidence and humility.

Is that possible?

Well, I'm off because I've spent too long in PJs today and have some errands to run. This topic is far from done, but I figured I'd jot down the thoughts I had on the subject while I remembered them

As always, thanks for reading!

Much love,
Chacha

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 2: Pink Nail Polish

In an effort to be diligent, I am writing this second post, however, I'm not really sure what to discuss...

Well, I feel like that first line was a waste of time, but I suppose a bigger waste of your attention is writing this line--ah yes, the internal battles of my mind...

Anyway, tomorrow I have the intention of going to Old Orchard Beach, Maine for a wee day trip via the Amtrak. For $44 I can merrily go on an adventure and return by supper time! However, I've been losing a battle with allergies the past couple of days and have woken up the past 3 mornings with a rather pesky sore throat. Assuming I have the energy, I shall go on my adventure and rest assured tomorrow's blog entry will divulge what all was involved! For now, I will discuss my intentions...

For some time now I've had this romanticized idea of getting in a car, blaring "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore and driving up to some yet to be determined/make-it-up-as-we-go location in ME, of course pulling off the road to take a lobster detour for lunch. So what's the first thing I do? Look into car rentals! (I can actually rent one, but I'm too poor to do that, so Amtrak it is!) More to the point, what's the second thing I do? Look to airbnb.com for a place to stay for two!

What's wrong with this picture.

C'mon, think. Don't let me down. I know you see something inherently flawed...

Well, in case you're just tired, I'll tell ya: make-it-up-as-we-go doesn't really go with calling ahead and making a reservation somewhere, now does it? Furthermore, I found my adventuresome self only interested in going if someone else wanted to accompany me! What's up with that?!

Lame.

I then thought about it and realized that because I want to do the Amtrak route, I ought to plan where I'm getting off so I settled on knowing where my final destination was going to be. Cool. However, what I'll do there? Meh, we'll find out. Most importantly, I'm finally okay with doing things on my own... guys, this is a BIG deal for me. Maybe you guys are okay with being alone now, but I'm sure we've all had those periods in our lives where we really only had the motivation to do things if someone else was willing to tag along. Yeah? Eh? Anyone with me? And I've touched on this before, and will make a huge point of this again in my post about dating, but I think it is of the essence that I can, in the words of my brother, "be alone and not be lonely."

Read that again: be alone not be lonely.

There's a hilariously sad story I have to tell you all about which involves me planning this elaborate profession of love to a boy just last week (really, it's fine, it was a run-away-bride situation where the dude was MIA, but definitely one for the memory books). This resulted in me have a dinner reservation for two, but alas, one was a no-show. The kicker is, while last year, and maybe even just 3 months ago, going out to dinner alone would have bothered me, the notion didn't seem upsetting that night. Even though I had this HUGELY romantic, elaborate, and time consuming plan all set up (like, we're talking mutual friends were roped into this, there were notes to be randomly delivered, the whole shibang) crumble into stale pieces of yesterday's bread, I was still excited about being all dolled up, done with finals, and finally getting to eat at Max Brenner. (Btw, AWESOME salted caramel shakes, oh goodness... I should have just ordered three of those for dinner!) So as I waited in the lobby of this boy's dorm chatting with some friends who showed up to help, I casually mentioned that I was going to go to dinner still. Sweetly, a friend (guy) that I was chatting with got a rather sad look on his face and was like "Aw, Chacha... don't go alone. That's..." "Sad? Yeah, I suppose it would have bothered me a few months ago, but surprisingly, not so much right now." Kindly enough, though, he insisted I wait 15 minutes while he changed into some nicer clothes, and then the two of us went on a bro-date. (He's not my brother, but like one to me. Woo! Best labmates EVER!) Anyway, after a lovely evening of catching up on life and all that jazz, I realized that while I had a great time with him, I think I would have equally been okay with going to Max Brenner on my own. And you know what? That felt pretty freaking good.

So, to relate this story to my Maine trip, I have invited a couple of friends to come with me on this adventure and all have said they can't go for various reasons. That's cool. I get it-- people are busy. And while I am sad that I won't get to bond with those friends outside the MIT bubble, I'm actually really okay with traveling on my own. Heck, I did that the summer after my senior year of high school across Italy! I used to be so independent and content on my own, I'm not really sure what happened, but somewhere along the way MIT seemed to have shaken my confidence so much that I no longer even enjoyed being alone. I'm happy to report things have a changed considerably (though I still have my moments, certainly) and I look forward to my "me time." And should I wake up with the energy to go on my adventure (curse you, allergies! *shakes fist to sky*) I have my bag ready with a book, hat, sunglasses, and pink nail polish.

Folks, I'm painting my nails pink on a beach in Maine. Bright pink.

Thanks for reading! Tune in tomorrow for whatever I end up doing!

Much love,
Chacha

P.S. Once I get home, this blog will become a food blog as well as travels blog too! Yay!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 1: I choose life

Summer has officially begun for me! I have moved out of my dorm and am currently crashing at bro's place for the week until I fly home next Thursday (thanks bro! shout out, he's the best big bro anyone could get!). Heh, and aside from the chaos of packing one's room by oneself and moving out (wow, I totally did that on my own, *feels proud*), I'd say things are off to a great start. In the words of a friend who probably doesn't even read this blog, I am "an independent black woman who don't need no man"... well, okay, so he was saying it to my friend who is actually half black, but I like to think it applies to me too. :-)

When I realized mid-semester the hard truth about this summer, which came hurling toward me like a freight train with some less-than-happy breaks,  I was advised to blog. (Read: I don't have a cool, super-fly, ends with "Inc." or "Co." internship-- OH MY GOSH WHAT AM I DOING?? Again, thanks bro for the tip about writing.)

So here's me... blogging.

Um.

Don't get me wrong, I've got plenty to talk about, but the question becomes what is worth writing down and where to begin. For now, I'll discuss my qualms and excitement about this summer.

Like I mentioned above, I don't have an internship this summer. Cool starry bra, you might be thinking, but actually, this was a really big blow to my pride initially (I'm happy to say things have changed, see below). "Why?," you might ask? (How are you supposed to punctuate that?!) Because everyone else and their mom has an internship... okay, so maybe that's an exaggeration, but at least at MIT for Course II (MechE) it sure feels like the truth. Sometime around the start of the spring semester people start talking about summer plans. Whether it be to fantasize about summer being in sight, brag about snagging a sah-weet internship already from some fall job-hunting, or just curious who will be in your area of the globe for summer (if you're course 6, EECS, you're pretty much set on knowing everyone is in the SF area or MIT, lol...), it's a dangerous game to play if you've not secured a job for the summer.

But it's just a summer job, right? Like, what's the big deal? Chillax dude.

Wrong.

Well, right, but amidst the pressure of MIT, it's hard to keep that healthy, outside perspective. Especially the summer after your junior year. This internship, at least for my major, is particularly important because if your company likes you and you like them, you can end the summer with a job offer for post graduation and avoid the stress of looking for a job your senior year. However, sometime during the semester, I realized I plan to go on for grad school (right now the plan is to become a professor, heh, we'll see...definitely go on for my masters though) so the stress of this summer lessened. However, the pride factor didn't change really. All too often I had encounters like the following:

Classmate: "Hey Chacha! What are you doing for the summer?"
Me: "Hah, um... I'm going home! Gonna 'find myself' as I'm putting it. Need a break and figured this was the best summer to do it."
Classmate: *slight pause* "Yeah, I can see the importance of that. Neat."
Me: "How about you? What're you up to?"
Classmate: "Oh, I've got an internship at I'm-A-Badass Inc. in TX [or CA]"
Me: "Wow! Congrats! That's intense."
Classmate: "Yeah... But have fun with your summer!"

And while that doesn't seem like such a bad conversation, and you may be thinking I'm reading into this too much, I literally only know one other person who is just going home for the summer. It was sort of a blow to the pride to not respond with "oh yeah, I have a neat internship too!"

So why the break?

Oh boy, where to start... Mostly, I found myself having to force myself to apply to internships. I wasn't excited about "thinking" this summer. That is, I wasn't excited about experiencing industry/etc. I was/am just feeling a little burnt out. Furthermore, every single day at MIT has been a struggle for me, and quite frankly, I'm exhausted.

I am tired.

There, I said it. Part of me wanted to give up at some point this year. Like, at the end of Spring Break I was rrrrreally tempted to just not return. Even in my connecting flight in TX every time they announced a flight leaving for LAX I cringed and wished I could be on that flight. But I was like "NOOOOO, MIT is a blessing! It's hard to view it like that at times, but you can't give into the 'game' that many of us get caught up in! Si se puede!" So after some introspection, melt downs, heart to hearts with friends and family (thanks guys!), I realized what I was fantasizing about doing during the day was non-academic stuff: traveling the world, cooking, eating, learning to cook, walking down farmers markets in Italy, working with my hands...

Simply put: I fantasized about LIFE.

But Chacha, what have you been doing for the past 20 years then? Silly girl, you be crazy. 

No. I'm not. Seriously. The shame about MIT is that we often place this burden upon ourselves to "get the grades" when in reality, that isn't all life has to offer, at least for me, that's not all I want my life to reflect. THIS IS THE KEY POINT FOLKS: I want more than just "the grades". There are some brilliant enough to learn about themselves and get a 4.5+ GPA, and maybe if I were more diligent about my studies perhaps I could be one of them, but for the past three years I have not been said student. At some point this semester I snapped and realized that time was going by whether I liked it or not and if I didn't start living a life of purpose, I was going to wake up in 30 years, have a real mid-life crisis, and have regrets. Regrets not of making bad decisions, but of not making decisions-- that's what I fear most: living complacently. Sure, I'll make mistakes and probably wish I hadn't chosen to do this or that, but the point is just that-- I want my life to be a series of choices. I want to choose each day to live in the present and, in the words of my sensei, do the very best I can do each day, right now-- I don't want my life just to be me randomly following a path, head down, thinking that at some point in the future I'll really start living life. But alas, I diverge, I shall elaborate on a purposeful life in another post I suppose, for now, my summer.

So, you're not interning, you've (sort of) come to terms with that. What are you doing?

Like I mentioned before, I'm "finding myself." What does that mean? Well, if I had the money, I'd pull a Julia Roberts and travel all over, but alas, for now I am doing Eat, Pray, Love sans the expensive travel... and I suppose sans the random hookup with an old, exotic dude... *shivers* I realize that while I plan to go on to become a professor, and part of me is really excited about that, part of me is scared that I'll be wasting my time and that my true calling is to do something else (like travel and eat and build stuff, yeah, really specific goals, I know). So to satisfy that fear, I'm dedicating this summer to working with my hands (building houses for Habitat for Humanity), tutoring (to test the waters of teaching/practice how to explain concepts), and hopefully shadowing an Italian chef back home. (I plan to take a gap year before grad school, during which I plan to study at a culinary academy in Italy, so this is a little preview into what that might be like.) In my free time I plan to take road trips, study Spanish and Chinese, do some GRE prep, learn to sketch, and lots and lots of contemplative prayer. The biggest point of this summer is to discovery who I am, who I want to become, and hopefully in doing so, figure out what type of person would be best to share this journey of life with. (Another blog post, but yeah, dating, sort of disillusioned with the common view of that too.)

But how will you know when you've found yourself? (Sensei, I'm thinking of our conversation.)

Quite frankly, I don't know. I've been reared with the idea of SMART goals: Specific, uh, somethin somethin blah blah... but honestly, I'm okay with venturing into the unknown. I acknowledge that life, figuring out who we are, etc, is a, well, life-long adventure. I by no means am tricking myself into thinking that at the end of the summer I'll be like "Alright folks, I've got me all figured out. I'm going to do a, b, c, and marry someone with these characteristics, and everything will be peachy." No, that's nonsense. But, I do hope two things will result from this summer: 1) I'll be bored out of my mind and realize that I'm best suited for an academic life like I suspect. In doing this, I believe I'll be better able to focus in school next year and be less likely to space out wondering "what if I did..." (I really hate that game, "what if." So pointless. You are who you are. You can must from your past, live in the present, and make choices for the future.) 2) I hope to have a better idea what I want in a future spouse. Well, and I suppose 3) is to become in wicked good shape. I want to lose the 15 lbs I've put on this year. Joy... (and good luck with that, given I'll be cookin' up all sorts of yummies!)

That second point might seem a bit premature given I'm only 20 (nearly 21, woo, shows how young I am that I still play the "rounding up" game) and I'll elaborate more on my view of dating in another post, but a precursor to figuring out what type of person I'd be happy with I think is figuring out who I am/want to become. This is where lots and lots of prayer/meditation/moments with nature comes in. It occurred to me, if I believe in an all knowing God, who knows me better than I know myself, wouldn't it make sense to further get to know Him first (and His creation)? (Another post on this topic!) Part of my enthusiasm about leading a life of purpose I think stems from this disappointment in how unappreciative I've been of everything, but especially my daily life. I think there is much wisdom I can gain from a better spiritual life. Furthermore, I believe that I was blessed with a mind designed to think and most importantly, make choices. I recently watched this video and it really struck me. Our life is comprised of the grand sum of our "daily life." I sometimes have pity parties for myself given my own physical obstacles, but I must choose to remind myself that every day is a blessing. Every day, is my choice. Perhaps not always what happens to me, but definitely what I learn from it.

While I fear this post has many things I just barely touched, if you have stuck with me this far, I thank you. I hope to leave you with this:

Do not simply live, but rather, choose life.

Much love,
Chacha

Thursday, May 16, 2013

project dx/dt

April 9th an idea was born-- one whose effects have changed my life. On that day, a fellow classmate, Nancy, emailed me telling me her story about sexual assault (in response to my facebook post/previous blog post) and asked me if I wanted to get involved in a project she had in mind.

Little did we know, what we were getting ourselves into. Even more, how it would change our lives.

When you open up about being sexually violated you brace yourself for a plethora of responses from silence, awkward random stories that have nothing to do with the present but-oh-my-gosh-just-not-silence, advice, and occasionally someone who is ok with being uncomfortable and will just listen. The latter is what I think most everyone wants, though I could be wrong. For me at least it's true. Second is the awkward silence.

I've learned to live in that silence.

To let it absorb into my inner-most being like a dry sponge saturates with water.

The worst is when people try to offer advice. I know they mean well and are most likely so extremely out of their comfort zone that they do not know what to do and want to help, but unless you've been violated, unless you have had your dignity stripped of you and gone through the whirlwind of self-hate/doubt/frustration/embarrassment that comes with having your body-- the very boundary of your essence to which you would think, and should think, you have complete control over-- trespassed, not to be rude, just frank, your advice is so completely out of place and there is simply no way that you can relate that it really doesn't mean jack. But alas, I diverge... the point to this post is to inform you of my thoughts of my most recently completed endeavor:

project dx/dt

Initially Nancy was thinking of something smaller (sorry girl for ruining that way less stressful idea!) and just wanted to get a feel for what other survivors of sexual assault were going through/how it affected them here at MIT. I immediately thought it was a great idea and got on board. Unfortunately, she got the short stick and totally did the majority of the filming and when the time came for editing the film, she really did it all. I arrange for some equipment, helped interview some fellow MIT students (wow, talk about eye opening, I'll elaborate in just a second), and created a slideshow for the half hour before the film. But honestly Nancy really carried the brunt of the work load here. I am so very honored to have worked with such a compassionate, diligent, dedicated, and beautiful person. She is truly inspiring and I am so very blessed to have gotten to work closely with her these past four weeks.

Oh that's another thing, we did this all in four weeks.

Three weekends for filming, and then this past weekend through 5:45pm today (screening was at 8pm, mind you) for editing over 5 hours of footage to just 34minutes. I'm still shocked that we did it.

Nancy, we did it. We. Did. It.

You had a dream, I got on board, and we went with it. It feels so good to have followed something through. This is the first thing in my life that I have felt such an activism for. Oh my goodness, don't get me started on the federal law that protects the identity of convicted college aged rapists from ever getting out. I'm sorry? Yes. You heard me. They can be convicted rapists, and if someone knows and mentions it to someone else, that person who told will get jailed. But again, beside the point...

We heard countless stories that left me simply heart broken for hours after the interview but so appreciative for the fellow MIT students who were willing to come forward and share their stories. To you all, thank you. I had to allot time each weekend after the filming to just let myself not be productive. It was really hard to sit through their experiences and then just "switch off" the emotional side to get work done-- heh, and by really hard, I mean it didn't happen. I definitely took my sweet time. With quotes like:


    I hate myself for not standing up for myself.


and

Sexual violence isn't something that happens to you once. It replays constantly: in your mind, in your dreams, as you pass people walking on the street.


How could I just move on? It felt... disrespectful. But then I encountered comments like:

Survivors are strong people. They are not weak, and they are not broken. They might need you to remind them of this from time to time. Be supportive, and never judge.

And I was encouraged. Encouraged to carry on with the project so that more people know the hell we go through and the determinedness with which we must conquer each day to carry on with our lives. It is not easy, but it is done. We do move forward. I believe the healthiest mentality is to never forget the past, look forward to the future, but remain in the present.

In the end though, with the last ~36 hours being absolutely CRAZY I'd say the film (abridged) turned out pretttty baller. I hope to get the consent of all the participants and thus be allowed to post it online. Rest assured if I am, you will be hearing from me with a link! [edit: you can find the video on our website, here] For now though, should you like to watch the slideshow, you can find it here or downloaded here. For the soundtrack, please listen to it here on Soundcloud.

Thank you all for following me the past couple of weeks as I've chimed in here and there on facebook about the project. It certainly provoked a lot more emotions than I'm enumerating here, but I am literally falling asleep as I write this entry (doesn't help I am lying prostrate on my bed). I think it's time to get some sleep... heh, haven't gotten much lately. Oy, my final is on Monday too. Wish me luck!

Listen.
Learn.
TALK.
Help END the silence.

There is no secret society.

Much love,
Chacha

[edit] P.S. Please see our website with a link to our video and list of resources made available to MIT students: https://sites.google.com/site/projectdxdt/ Thanks for watching!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Found my Valediction...

Hah, funny digging through my folder titled "random" has procured some rather enjoyable reads. Among them today I found my Valediction. Should you want a blast from the past (okay, only 3 years, but still, that some time!) here's what I so nervously recited to my class June 6th(?) 2010. :)

Enjoy! Much love!

~~~~~
Coast Union Valediction of 2010
       Welcome family and friends. Let me start with this: thank you. The love, support, words of wisdom, and even the smacks on the back of the head, helped shape the young adults that stand before you. That is not to say that we didn’t work hard to get to where we are today. We did, we put in the hours of work. But without you, it would have been completely different. On behalf of the class of 2010, thank you.
To my fellow graduates.
       The time has come, we are about to embark on the adventure called life. That is not to say that what we have experienced thus far isn’t life, but from here on out it will be very different. There will be no adults to “bail us out,” no teachers to remind us when things are due; we will be completely responsible for our lives. So what does being the only person responsible for your actions represent? To some, freedom and power. To others, fear and uncertainty. No matter how we view it, change is something we must embrace, learn from, and move on with new tools that will enable us for a better life.
       So the question becomes this: What will you do with your life?
       Do not be misled, a life of indifference is just as bad as a life of crime. If we are not actively seeking what is right, what is just, then we are just as guilty as the man who threw the stone. Instead of leading an existence of indifference, live life out loud. Find your passion and follow it. The world will know you by your actions. What will you choose to lead your life? Here is my challenge for you:
Choose Love.
Choose a life of love, and your legacy will be great. That does not necessarily mean a life of luxury or wealth or fame. In fact, love will most likely entail a humble life. But the footprints you leave behind will provide more for future generations than any monetary endowment ever could. Choosing such a life though, is not easy. Love is not some mushy emotion. Love is a choice. It is an action. You must decide to love. You may fall in love, but you must choose to stay there. Loving will be the hardest part of life, and yet the most rewarding. To love is to want the best for ones you like least.
What do you want to be your legacy? Who will you be defined as?
Though I am not Morgan Freeman, who narrates everything best, I will leave with these words from the poem “Invictus”:
“In the feel clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am  the captain of my soul.”
Thank you.
~~~~~