Family Knows No Limits

We had a saying when I was in the Western Washington University Filipino-American Student Association: Isang pamilya. Isang dugo.

One family. One blood.

When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines several weeks ago, it wasn’t just an event that showed up in the news headlines in my online feeds. Anytime anything shows up about the Philippines, I know that I, my mom, and many of my friends hope and pray that all our family are okay. And whenever anything heartbreaking happens back in the Philippines, I also know that the Filpino community comes together to help and to support and to show tremendous outpouring of love. That’s who we are.

It seems strange to then suddenly bring up the CrossFit community. It’s a community of voluntary participation; none of us were born into this. But that doesn’t mean people don’t bring their own intersecting identities to the table. And with that comes the intersection of communities.

In times of disaster, there are numerous fundraising and aid efforts, and one event aiming to help the Philippines came to light via one of the coaches (who happens to be Filipino) at my gym. King CrossFit in Renton, WA has a prominent Filipino membership and presence, and Coach Ryan organized a Workout Of the Day (WOD) dedicated to the relief efforts in the Philippines. Members were invited throughout the region to participate in a WOD that symbolized* the typhoon in its repetition scheme and the length of workout. Beyond that, other CrossFit affiliates were invited to hold their own sister events. Gyms throughout the country stepped up. There are even affiliates in other countries who held fundraising WODs.

My teammates and I went down early to Renton on Saturday morning. King was busy, packed with athletes from all over. As I warmed up on the rowing machine, the unmistakable smell of lumpia wafted in with each pull. (Talk about motivation. If I had lumpia waiting for me after every WOD, I’d be in the gym multiple times a day.) We all chipped in donations at the door to participate, and of course, many donated again when the lumpia (and doughnuts and coffee) came out. And of course, we did the WOD. Early morning box jumps aren’t my favorite, but knowing I was supporting one of my communities by way of another one of my communities was much more important.

Luckily for me, my family in the Philippines reported that everyone was safe and accounted for. I know that’s not the case for everyone. On the surface, I’m sure there are some cynics who only see that I got up early on one day and had fun with fellow CrossFitters and ate some lumpia; how is that making a difference in the wake of a disaster? Because it was more than just a regular day at the gym. It was a day with a deeper purpose, with a deeper reflective aspect to it.

Besides, when one gym reports that solely the at-the-door donations came in at $2500–not accounting for sales of shirts or donations for food and coffee–and that dollar amounts from other affiliates haven’t been totaled, you can see that this “crazy fitness community” is much more than one, singular identity. We’re not martyrs, but there are people with hearts of gold. There are people who recognize the power of many in the face of adversity, and they go out and do something to make a positive impact.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is a giant “thank you” to Ryan and King CrossFit. Thank you for organizing and growing an event that means so much to me, to my family, to my friends, to all of us. And to you.

And thank you to everyone who participated, near and far.

Isang pamilya. Isang dugo.

SEAtown CrossFit at the Philippine Relief WOD. Photo borrowed from the STCF Instagram page!

SEAtown CrossFit at the Philippine Relief WOD. Photo borrowed from the STCF Instagram page!

* Other memorial or tribute WODs are constructed in a similar manner. For example, there are variations of the 9/11 WOD. The 9/11 WOD I was a part of this past September concluded with a 2001m run after over thirty minutes of tough physical exertion; the burning in my calves was nothing compared to the sacrifices and the pain and heartbreak that accompanied the attacks. In some ways, these CrossFit WODs are intended to provide an outlet for reflective practice.

Such Great Heights

What a weekend.

It was the first really sunny weekend this year, and it started out with happy hour on Friday. We celebrated the end of another successful quarter in advising, and took the time to swap funny stories and enjoy some good food. After a bit of socializing, I headed north to Issaquah. I made decent time, although I had to make about a two-mile loop near Bellevue because I couldn’t merge onto the I-90 East ramp due to, like, twenty cars and a semi that were going way too slow. Oh well. What can you do other than whine about it on your blog?

On Saturday morning, three of us went to CrossFit 425 where–surprise!–CrossFit Games workout 13.4 was programmed in as part of the morning WOD. Part. I had attempted 13.4 at the prescribed weight, 95lbs., on Thursday, and I hadn’t even broken into double digits. (I did, however, set a personal record for clean-and-jerk, and I did hit my first set of toes-to-bar that night.) So, because I had already done my Rx’d attempt, I scaled and went quite light, down to 65lbs. Then there was more after that first 7 minutes. We did some jump-roping, and some push-ups, and some kettlebell work. And there was a short 400m run followed by as many burpees as possible (if you finished the run in under two minutes, which I did; I got two burpees in).

After my friends finished killing it during the competitors’ 13.4 attempt, we spent some time in the sun. Yes, we just stood outside the gym in our sports bras and pants. We made Hubsly take some pictures, too. We’re quite attractive.

Seriously, attractive.

Seriously, attractive.

After CrossFitting and eating way too much frozen yogurt (and mini peanut butter cups), I made my way to Ellensburg. My aunt and uncle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a get-together of family and friends. This aunt is my dad’s little sister, and I love her and my uncle to pieces. I surprised everyone by showing up, primarily because I wasn’t even sure if I would make it, but I did! My half-sister was there, too, so it was fun to catch up with her. We all went to Cousin Jim’s after the party for cornbread and chili. I had a bunch of homemade cheese crackers (well, they’re more like cheese cookies), which also were not anywhere close to paleo nor clean. But they were delicious and worth it. Family time is some of the best time in my world; I’m a lucky one.

Aunt Mac and Uncle Don

Aunt Mac and Uncle Don

After stuffing myself stupid on chili and cheese cookies, I drove back to Issaquah. A few of us congregated at Lot No. 3 where the guys were working the bar and slingin’ drinks like they are known to do. There was a lot of popcorn thrown that night. Apparently, I’m twelve.

Easter Sunday suddenly showed up (about four hours after I finally went to bed), and four of us decided a hike was in order. (Well, actually, we were invited on Saturday, and I woke up fifteen minutes before we were supposed to leave, and there was really going to be no backing out of the deal, plus it was super-sunny out and as a PNW’er, I had to take advantage.) Mt. Si was the destination, a four-mile ascent to the top of the hill. My legs burned for a good portion of the hike, primarily my calves, but I endured.

And then, there was this:

Looking out over Bellevue and Seattle (in the distance)

Looking out over Bellevue and Seattle (in the distance)

Summit 2

That's Mt. Rainier.

That’s Mt. Rainier.

Sometimes, you just have to take the holy day outside and near the sun. Sometimes, you just have to go outside and remind yourself, I’m alive. Sometimes, you just have to be unstoppable.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend, friends. More goodness to come!

Iron Roots

Driving five hours both ways to make it to my uncle’s 90th birthday party this past weekend was incredibly worth it. I have a family that is as unique as they come, and as funny and loving as possible.

Maybe I did something right in a past life to be a part of this. Whatever it is, I thank my lucky stars.

I Want to Share This With You

Sometimes, it’s hard to explain what it’s like to be multiracial, like playing Twister with one hand in “White” and the other in “American” and your foot (I almost said “the other,” as in hand) in “Filipino.” It’s hard to explain what it’s like when you’re Filipino American. It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be an invisible majority minority.

And when your people finally have a hero that becomes a household name, it makes you feel special. It makes you feel like you could do anything in the world. And for being a part of such a solid, community-oriented culture, it’s really, really difficult to know how to feel when that hero says something that hurts so many others.

Yet it’s also hard to reconcile your feelings of respect and knowing how hard it is to reconcile your own beliefs with your culture’s strong Catholic tradition. I joke about being “culturally Catholic” sometimes, but it’s a daily negotiation to interpret the Church’s beliefs and proclamations with my own reality.

My heart goes out to my kuyas and ates and titas and titos and so forth and so on who not only struggle with this, but who also struggle with knowing that the culture still has a ways to go in terms of LGBTQ rights and that it affects who they are, their identity, day in and day out.

So please, take a moment, to read this. Because it’s so well-written–and I’m proud to say that, in a way, the author is my family, too.

An Open Letter to Manny Pacquiao From a Gay Filipina American

 

True Loves!

This is one of those typical updates one makes on a birthday.

1. Thank you everyone who has celebrated with me thus far. Those of you that came to Block 15 last night, and those of you that ventured to PDX, thank you. You’ve filled my weekend with laughter (and good food)!

2. Thank you everyone for the various texts, FB messages and posts, and phone calls. (Also, thank you for the random cards and gifts that have shown up.) Those messages always make my day. (Fun fact: My FB inbox is still full of “Happy birthday!” messages from back before “The Wall” was a thing.)

3. Thank you, self, for having the foresight to book a hotel room in a great city. You know me too well. The nap I just took might have been the best present to myself. (I took a nap yesterday, too. Brilliant. Old age is treating me well.)

Anyway, today marks year 26 of my presence on Earth. I do have to say that year 25 was very difficult, and I am thankful to have made it through with the love and support of family and friends. I am thankful for the ups and the downs and the lessons learned. It’s not always easy, this thing we call growing up.

Oh, and for all you haters that think 26 is a boring year because “nothing good happens”: pffffffft. I started out the day with Stumptown coffee (brewed at home!) and breakfast at the Screen Door in Portland.

Also, also: the Purdue OWL is now more than my APA crutch. I just used it to double-check punctuation rules when using quotation marks. I’ve been second-guessing myself a lot, mostly with the use of question marks–which the answer is, “It depends.”

Alright, back to Birthday Town. Yippee!!

PS – Don’t let me forget to buy a cupcake at some point this weekend.

“The Secret Lives of Women” by Deb Schmidt-Rogers, DePaul University (via WISA – KC)

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"The Secret Lives of Women" by Deb Schmidt-Rogers, DePaul University So my WISA blog post was written and ready to be sent to Ann Marie for posting on Wednesday and then just a few minutes ago I received a DM on my twitter account that read, “Really need some prayers for strength and perspective today.  Struggling more than I have in a really long time” I had been struggling with this blog post since I agreed to write it. I am not really good at writing on demand. I have to somehow feel my subject and while I have … Read More

via WISA – KC

Tribute

See you later...

The site where my family and I set Dad free

This weekend, family and friends celebrated my Dad’s life. We had a get-together (read: party) on Saturday, and on Sunday, we went to Ellensburg to disperse Dad’s ashes. It was a lovely time, all in all, and I’m happy that Dad knew so many exceptional people.

Being the youngest Feroglia child, I was asked (told) to give a speech. I called it my “keynote address,” and hopefully it will be the precursor to many a keynote speech. However, I’m sure this may be one of the best public speaking opportunities I’ve ever had and will ever have.

I borrowed (used) the final speech from Death at a Funeral (the British 2007 release) as the base for my speech. I thought it captured quite nicely a lot of the sentiment I wanted to express. I changed some things here and there, added some words, and even though it wasn’t entirely original, I think it served its purpose quite well. I’ll share it here, with original parts highlighted.

My father was an exceptional man. He may not have been a perfect man, but he was a good man. And he loved us.

Life isn’t simple. It’s complicated. We’re all just thrown in here together in a world full of chaos and confusion. A world full of questions and no answers, with Death always lingering around the corner.

And we do our best…

My dad did his best.

He always tried to tell me you have to go for what you want in life, because you never know how long you’re going to be here. And whether you succeed or you fail, the most important thing is to have tried.

He reminded me that success is not–and never will be–defined by how much money you have or how much stuff you accumulate. He never said what success was, but I suspect it has something to do with the company you keep.

My father never told me what I could and couldn’t be when I grew up. He let me run circles around a million different ideas, and by my own accord, I ended up exactly where I needed to be.

And that’s exactly what I needed.

A good life is one where, in the end, what remains are a thousand different stories–most of which end with a laugh.

So as you spend time with us, I’d like you to remember my father for who he was–

a decent and loving man.

If only we could be as giving and generous and understanding as my father was, then the world would be a better place.

And that is a life worth celebrating.”