Have you ever walked into actual chaos; a kitchen being remodeled, a dress fitting, an event an hour before doors open and felt like…

shit, I do not want to be here.


That’s been my brain loaded with ideas about myself, things I want to accomplish, words I want to express, stories I want to share, guilt I sit on, pressure I set off. It’s never-ending. Sometimes, I just don’t want to be in my brain anymore, as if I could just remove myself for a minute while it sorts itself out and I can take a break from the marathon its currently running. Clearly not possible.

Christina Topacio - Profresh - Sacs Hot Dogs - Vallejo - Los Angeles - Founder JIG+SAW - Tyler Topacio

I reminded a friend this morning to start brain dumping in order to make room for the new for the next day. And I realized that’s exactly what I’m not doing. I’m storing up all those thoughts and ideas and pressures and letting them fester, going through every single day as if there’s plenty of room to take on more. Surely, there isn’t room, because I can actually, physically feel myself get full. My eye starts to twitch (for weeks), my migraines come back, and my shoulders hike up to my ears. It’s a visceral reaction to what’s taking up brain space. And so, I figured, why not brain dump here, today, to let go of everything inside so I can build something new tomorrow. It won’t make sense and will feel all over the place but bear with me, my brain is flexing. : )



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Christina Topacio - Profresh - Sacs Hot Dogs - Vallejo - Los Angeles - Founder JIG+SAW - Tyler Topacio
Christina Topacio - Profresh - Sacs Hot Dogs - Vallejo - Los Angeles - Founder JIG+SAW - Tyler Topacio

Let’s begin.


I’m desperately afraid to move on with my life. Like, what it means to just forgive what has happened, move on with my heart and be genuinely vulnerable again. Would I be a new person? What if I changed and I don’t like what I see? Or what if I do? What if I fall in love again? What can I do to protect myself? It feels like all I do is protect myself. Protect me from making mistakes, from falling in love, making the “wrong” decision, from people, from being known, from finding success, from actually working things out. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of what life is bringing me, what I know God is putting in front of me. Paralyzed to make decisions. It’s probably why everything I’ve done in my life is out of reaction. Every move, every boyfriend, every breakup, every fight, every resignation letter, every idea launched.. Or didn’t. It was all born from a reaction. Because I have less time to think about how things will affect me or my life and thus, I settle into whatever the outcome will be. But there are times when I can feel myself physically pause, analyze the words I’m going to say or the action I want to take, and assess the impact. And I found that my emotions are at the utmost high and then, I fade down to neutral. And it’s never as bad or as extreme as I thought it would be to cause me to say or do what I was going to.

I’m so scared of JIG+SAW… what it means to continue. I’m scared of seeing people who showed up and supported, who made it all happen. I’m scared to face them. I can’t even begin to start planning the event that’s been on the calendar for months because I’m afraid of what people will think, of what people will say. But more importantly, I’m nervous I have no idea what I’m doing and… most importantly, WHY. And I play with this idea of big fish/small pond, small fish/big pond and where my impact lies. Is it in Los Angeles? Does Los Angeles actually need what I have to give? What do I want to create? Is there a version where we aren’t seeking validation from investors and founders but putting community first while being able to sustain me? I have no idea. And TEAM seems to be the more “successful” win. More inquiry than I imagined with such a quiet “hey, hi, we’re sort of here” and that’s been an incredibly validating feeling. But is that where my heart is? I know my heart is with the local florist, and the first-time coffee shop owner and a chef looking to open a pop-up, and a creative looking to build an agency and a woman who makes candles in her kitchen and a dad who wants to take his podcast to the next level and a mom who needs community and support as she launches her first blog. And so, how does it all feed each other? How do I take care of myself and still fulfill my heart, support humans, people, grounded community? What models out there exist that I can relate to? What if I don’t want to be the person who chases millions? What if I just want my peaceful little life that has an impact on humans doing beautiful things in their communities? How do you do that? Is that JIG+SAW? Is that me? Is that here?

I’ve missed out on twelve years with my best friends and close family. Everyone has had their lives while I’ve lived all over and rarely go home to the bay and I’m afraid I’ve missed the core pieces of the people I love the most. What I move back and everything is different? What if we’re not as close as we used to be? What if my sisters move away to college and I’ve missed their whole entire lives? What if my parents move away, retire far from me? What will my life look like back home? How will I even afford it? How do I have the life I desire, with the time I desire, with the people I love, and not miss out on anything or anyone? Why does it feel more complicated now? That simple life I desire; the coffee shop, walking kids to school, making fresh breads and sandwiches for the community and knowing everyone in my neighborhood… is that a reality? Is this some movie I’ve conceptualized? Can life actually be that beautiful?

Sometimes I feel like I chose the wrong journey. I’ve played movies in my mind since I was a kid. I remembered I imagined this entire story of a kid having cancer in my 3rd grade class and how the principal became her best friend and she learned how to live her life despite dying soon. And the soundtrack that played was this song by Brian McKnight called Love Is. And it was the track that played when the little girl had gone back to the school to say goodbye. And the credits? Kenny G’s Forever In Love. And I remember how vivid it was, and sometimes the story was me, and sometimes it was a new kid in school. But my imagination was real and building these stories surrounding music was and is something that was constant for me. I can walk through the Grove or walking Pippa around the block and can literally see a whole music video come to life. I see every component, the song being played, and the visuals that create its storyline. And so, part of me thinks that I’ve held myself back from being creative because that felt unacceptable. Whether that came from my childhood or something I learned as an adult, I know that I’ve never actually sunk into owning my creativity and knowing that I’m really, really good at storytelling. And I had this talk with my mom about her current journey, starting over, and it brought two emotions. Pain and excitement. Excitement for this new journey of exploration and an understanding of who she is, these other aspects of her unexplored. And pain because I felt this guilt that she never had the opportunity, raising my brother and I and how ungrateful I am to have all this time to myself where I could create and build beautiful things given that I have two extremely gifted and talented creative parents but yet, I’ve avoided that professionally and only toiled with it as a hobby. And I’m judging myself for not allowing myself to be me. Be me.

Be me feels so final, so heavy. Who is that supposed to be? I feel I want to evolve constantly, allow myself seasons, and really live into those. But it also feels unsettling. How can I move forward with my life and “be me” if I’m still amidst the chaos? And I think until the dust settles on last season, an evolved me can’t come forward. An empowered and motivated me is waiting. And so, I’m just sitting, waiting for myself to settle. It’s almost as if I’m still in “hustle” mode and until I move back to the Bay and begin that “settled” life, I won’t actually start living into the ME I know is in there. Frustrating...

But this is a season, all of this is a season. Dust included.

So maybe, really, what all this is about is allowing myself the exploration with expectation. Be good with being my age and still being in a transitional period. And be satisfied with my growth and mentality today. And maybe, this season, albeit clouded, is exactly where I’m supposed to be. No, I know it is. These thoughts, these ideas, the swirling of my mind, is where I’m to be. Because the next season coming is going to take my breath away. I can feel God building that for me. So really, I just need to sit back, feel it all and progress as it comes.

And I’m okay with that.

Thank you deeply for letting me go through this exploration of my brain. I encourage you to do so. Whether you do it in a comment below, in an email or DM, I would love to hear what’s going on in yours. The more we put out there, the more real it gets. And I’m here for it, for you.

ily. cee