I Am…

January 25, 2020

On my drive up to the mountains, my mind went pleasantly blank…in a relaxed, wonderful, existential way. I had spent the morning getting kids to school before completing a product inventory tax prep task, a deadline I promised my bookkeeper I’d make before leaving. So I welcomed my brain going quiet and just focused on driving 109 miles east up to the Sierra Nevada.

And in that state, a few minutes later, the words that follow here began to flow through my mind…like a cataloging of my identity on my last day of my 52nd year. It was weird. It was continuous. It was like I was suddenly looking at myself from outside my body, wondering who I was. The words just ran through my mind…the strange subconscious descriptors… the stream-of-consciousness pace.

It was so intense, I pulled over at a Carl’s Jr. in Tracy, grabbed my Surface Pro laptop, and started writing what had just popped into my mind. I wrote continuously for 15 furious minutes, then stopped to get a drink and continue my drive.

In the hotel that night, as I rested and got excited for my self-care ski weekend, I finished it.

I hope you enjoy it. I hope it inspires you to sit down and define yourself, to capture who you ARE, versus who you think you should be. It’s quite liberating. If you do this exercise, would you be so kind and share it with me? I’d love to read it! This is who I am.

I Am…
By Graciela Tiscareno-Sato – on the occasion of a glorious birthday

I am…the mom who packs for the weekend in 20 minutes and heads for the mountains, alone, once a year, to ski on my birthday because the snowy Sierra Nevada is my happy place and damnit I need to escape my daily chaos…I need days to just fly down a mountain with a grin on my face…

I am…the mother of three teens who I adore; the oldest is blind, hearing-impaired and epileptic. I don’t live in fear about that anymore, even though I am told I should probably be more afraid than I am. Ha! They are my “hearts walking around outside my body,” as I once heard it said. I love them.

I am…the woman lucky enough to be the wife of Genro Sato…the most loving man, the most supportive husband and business partner, the most intuitive father, who ever walked the planet. He’s my fishing buddy, my fellow trombonist, my life partner.

I am…the mom who just fought through a full year of knee pain, meniscus injury, traveling with said pain coast-to-coast serving my fellow veterans enrolled at universities, who worked her ass off for five months of intense physical therapy after surgery, imagining getting off the chair lift and starting the run down the mountain, to get back to the mountain…because you only get one life and you can’t miss out on what you love to do most…no matter what.

I am…that lady you see driving around town with her pink pussy hat, the head of a happy white Siberian Husky sticking out the back Landcruiser window. I am a dog person who lived too many years without a dog because a three-pack of children was intense enough while building a business; now I’m complete thanks to Yuki, our shelter-rescued puppy.

I am…the mom driving on autopilot at 0640 a.m. in the dark winter morning, to drop off her 15 year-old daughter and her euphonium or trombone at the high school before heading to the gym for an long hour workout before making trip two to load up the dog and take my 13 year-old son to middle school before dropping off her hubby at the train station. This is my life five mornings a week. I am creatively nurturing everybody that I am blessed to have in mi familia, learning to include myself in that list.

I am…the businesswoman who occasionally (not often) stays up until 3 a.m. to make progress writing one of her next three books because I’m STILL a night owl and higher priority business ops, client calls, and biz dev tasks demanded my attention earlier in the day…and yeah that thing about being my family’s driver for around 3 hours a day on average…so write when I can, sometimes in the middle of the night, because authors are strange this way.

I am…the mom who at 8:40 p.m. on Tuesdays after blind daughter’s mariachi class says, “Oh my God. I’ve been in this car since 3:45 p.m. transporting my kids to and fro – what the hell is happening?”

I’m… the mom with the most cluttered kitchen you’ve ever seen because four people bring stuff into the house daily and I’m outnumbered and it’s apparently futile to force people to use my “systems” and I’m tired of nagging everyone every day so screw it. It’s cluttered…until the day I go nuts and throw everything away…because we’re hosting a party for 20 or more people. Here’s the thing: I love hosting and know it’s okay for your home to look REAL when you invite cherished friends to visit. (I have dumped the programming from my childhood that said the opposite is true. I’m so over the “Que va decir la gente?” mentality.

I am…the daughter born a quarter mile north of the U.S./Mexico border to two Mexican immigrants who remain healthy and active in their late 70s and early 90s. I’m very blessed to be able to call my Mami and Papi and see them at least once or twice a year, somewhere in the Western United States.

I am…the daughter who got a call from her Mami this morning while riding the ski bus up to the resort, who played Las Mañanitas for me and wished me Feliz Cumpleaños…she brought me to tears of overwhelming gratitude for how loved and cherished I am as their child.

I am…the sister to three siblings I am lucky to see once a year because I make a point to travel to THEM, who cherishes the awesome siblings weekend we shared together in Oregon, riding our bikes in the rain and enjoying Halloweentown craziness and breweries in St. Helens. I love them so much and wish we were together more often.

I am…a Latina and an Air Force veteran, in service to my beloved military and Latino communities, in a creative variety of ways as a social entrepreneur – my passion work – as a bilingual children’s book author and public speaker/workshop facilitator– because the miraculous life I’ve lived from starting life as the oldest of five children born to ambitious Mexican immigrants to Berkeley graduate to military aviator to tech marketing professional to founder of an award-winning publishing and marketing firm…. cannot be stored only as memories in my brain. There’s literally millions of children and families like mine who NEED to see glimpses of what’s possible in this country, so we must tell our stories to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, SHOW THE WAY. Because the psychological impact of transitioning from military service member to civilian life takes a toll on person – it is a very difficult phase of life and most civilians simply do not understand the full complexity…so I create, serve, speak, teach and give…because I am all these things, and I love these communities…and I love doing this work.

I am…a storyteller for life – I’m in the business of inspiration and it comes out in a myriad of ways. Thank God.

I am…pretty much vacillating between totally energized and pumped and totally mentally exhausted just about every day…but I’m never bored so there’s that benefit of this momtrepreneur lifestyle. .

I am…today escaping my daily routine to MAKE it all stop for one weekend…because everyone needs to hit the reset button once in a while, to be alone, to think, to rest; I do my reset on a mountain each January 25th.

I am…completing another trip around our star that brings life, the Sun.

I am…one lucky, grateful woman. Happy birthday!

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