The First Blog Post After a Long Holiday

So.

First of all, I’m sorry for not updating this blog sooner; there had been so many things going on that time just flew past me in a daze. I had been doing school stuff and working on another book at the same time, and by the time the school year was over I felt as if my head wasn’t in the right space to deal with anything writing-related.

Then I went to Bali.

Granted, the plan was simple – hang out with my old classmates for the weekend, then take off on my own for three days – but what I didn’t count on was the clarity of mind that I’d experienced while I was there. You see, when I first flew in, I didn’t realize that I had carried over with me a few things that I thought I’d left behind at good ol’ Hacienda de Meimei – there were feelings of sadness and inadequacy that I didn’t know how to figure out, not to mention the butterflies in my stomach whenever I mentioned that my book was coming out in print. (Up until now I’m still pinching myself over getting my book.) In a way, I was worried that my life had only gone as far as it could, and it scared me to think that I might never be able to share a lot about myself. Instead of letting go, I’d pushed my problems to the side and just concentrated on being the fun person that I used to be again.

What I didn’t count on was the clarity.

Granted, the realization didn’t come as a blissed-out Moment of Zen where I felt like my heart had opened up and become one with nature. What did happen were little quiet moments when I realized that I didn’t have to try too hard to prove myself. I was happy and serious and fun and sane and every contrary adjective that could pop up inside my head. Yes, I was there to have fun with my friends, but I also realized that my presence was also a blessing to them, too, and the best way I could share that love was to spend time with them catching up on the people we’ve become.

It was even better when I took off on my own and went to Ubud by myself. I got jumped on by monkeys, tasted kopi luwak and (on a last-ditch side trip to Denpasar) got my tongue scorched off by a wayward smidge of chili paste while eating roast pork – but those were the best hours that I’d spent on my own in such a long time. There wasn’t a dull moment at all – it was just me immersing myself fully into the moment and opening up to the possibilities of more adventure.

But it all came back to the same question that I had when I first got off the plane: Who am I? 

When I came back to the Hacienda, the first thing I did was look through old yearbook pictures for pictures of that cute guy more memories of the old days. I really thought that the world hated me for what a dork I’d been in middle and high school, but looking at the comments I’d written inside my own yearbooks, I feel like I’d violated my own memories by making imaginary enemies out of people who only wanted to be friends – no, people who are my friends, who I still see on Facebook and like enough to hang out with in real life, given the chance. And I realized that there was no way on earth that I would want to be the person that I used to be back then, because – for what it’s worth – I actually like the person that I am now.

And I don’t want to bring myself that low again. Ever.

So where does this bring us, then? Well, for starters, I’m going to change a few things about the way I deal with people – especially the way I blog and write. That doesn’t mean I will be writing more personal things on this blog, but I want to be able to share things that are more than just about my works in progress and the struggle I have to balance them with my academic career. I want to spend more time with my readers by sharing more of the things that I’m passionate about – books, issues, matters of the heart. And I want to do this as openly and welcoming as I can, because why have a space like this if I’m going to alienate people with my angst?

It’s going to be a long ride, but I promise you, it’s going to be worth it. 🙂

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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