Blog: so this is 40
This is probably a great time to introduce myself to anyone new here.
Hello! I'm Leila and today is my birthday. I am currently "trapped" in the fun at an indoor water park with my family. Of all things to be and do for your 40th, but that's always been me. Random and silly. I spent my 21st birthday (and part of my bachelorette party) at a Dave & Buster's.
My writing journey goes way back to when I was about my daughter's age (10). I found comfort in words and in pages of a book versus...anything else around me. I still write, as much and as often as I can. But LIFE, man. It is fast, brutal, and sometimes, I forget what season I am in and if I've packed correctly.
I have not written a novel in decades. This fact makes me sad. I have 2 different work in progress: a novel in verse about a Filipina whose family comes from what we in the States consider a succubus...but a mananagal is much more complex than that. The other one has been in my heart since the rise of AAPI hate in 2020. I keep adding more heartbreaking and maddening poems...but I don't know when I'll be finished. I want to bring my stories, my culture into the forefront. It is who I am and I refuse to be a side character even in my make-believe world and I will not apologize for that. You call it diversity read. I call it my life and my point of view.
I am an advocate for moms. Women. Babies. Maternal mental health. My motherhood story began when I was diagnosed with Preeclampsia 10 years ago. This was followed by anxiety, depression, PTSD....and right into another preeclampsia diagnosis about 4-ish years later. My 2 kiddos are my world. I advocate and write and do all the things for them. For other mamas and for other babies.
This season, I am going into teaching. I started this journey sometime in 2019 on a whim. But I remember when I was younger wanting to be a teacher and my parents and aunt (who happened to be a teacher) voted against it. Teachers, at the time, didn't leave the Philippines. Only nurses and doctors did. Writers were also not encouraged. But that is a story within my poetry collection.
Anyway, I am so happy you are here! And thank you for sticking around. Reflections from a birthday milestone:
20s was a glorious mess of happenstance, travels, love and opportunities.
30s was the best up and downs of the loveliness of motherhood. This has been my identity for a decade.
But 40s.....this decade, I am going to embrace all things me: the silly, the random, the opportunities, the boldness and unapologetically saying no when I am uncomfortable.
This is 40, y'all.
Blog: sink or swim
I have been watching my children take swim lessons for the past 2 weeks. In the beginning, my oldest plunged feet first and did her best to swim. She looked forward to her daily lessons and seemed to shine brighter afterwards. My little one is the skeptic, anxious one; he negotiated every jump, every move, every lesson. I wasn't able to hear from my vantage point but I could see him talking to his instructor, shake his head and nod when she moved just a little bit closer. This is me heading into the school year.
I will be (hopefully) teaching kindergarten and I am skeptical of my abilities and super anxious about what our daily routine will look like. But because littles watch what we do, I know my daughter has a lot of me in her. This is me plunging into a teaching career at (almost) 40. I know I will do my best and I know that I will look forward to my kiddos. I loved doing virtual teaching. Those kiddos, I will forever think of as my very first class....even if TEA (Texas Education Agency) won't recognize the year I spent with them (long story). I loved seeing their excited faces and listening to their stories. I loved that they looked forward to talking to me about their weekends/holidays. If I try to be my best self, just as I did last year, then I should expect the same outcome. And after all, these are kindergartners. 5/6 year olds who are just as scared leaving their moms and dads and guardians at home to spend the full day with a stranger. I know on the very first day of school, we will all be thinking, "will they (she) like me?"
And I already love them for that.
Yesterday was their last day of swim. We did a 2 week "power course" which was 20 minutes of one-on-one instruction daily. By the end of the 10 days, my daughter almost "graduated" from the beginner and moved to the high tier end of advanced swim and safety. There are 10 tiers and she will be promoted to the 7th tier.
I only had 1 goal for the little man: for him to get out of the pool safe and to be able to put his head under water. I remember when I took him to the beach when he was a year old and he cried the entire time the water lapped at his feet. He is not my beach bum, nor my water loving buddy. Essentially, his dad.
But by the end, I watched with so much pride in my heart when he jumped into the pool and turn around, hang tight to the edge and climb back out. I watched him put his head under water and happily swam with a bar for balance/buoyancy and watched his legs kicking behind him.
Growth, patience, and lots of support and encouragement from both me and his instructor and he was able to not only meet the expectations I set for him, but soared on his own.
And that's the lesson I am taking away for myself this fall.
There will be tears. There will be anxious starts. I will negotiate. I will set goals for myself. But I know with lots of growth, patience, support, and encouragement, my class and I will not only exceed what my goals are but we will be able to soar.
May I remember this thought this fall. And if you are going into the teaching profession or go into writing full time.....may you remember this as well.
We can do it, friends.
And if you are able to, please consider donating. My kinders and I thank you:
I drink too much coffee, read too many books, and in between raising miracle babies, I find time to write.
Hi there! Here's a quick bio