Change is in the air…..

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Whew, this one turned out to be longer than intended.  It’s worth it (or I think it is), to hang in there…….take a bathroom break, do some stretches…..whatever you need to, but hang in there with me! 🙂

I really want to avoid the word “resolution” or any variation of “New Year’s resolution”.  I know it works for some people to make those lists and stick to them.  I admire those folks that diligently sit and layout how things will be different in 2019 and follow through.  I LOVE a good list (I’m just terrible at following them).

I used to want to be one of those people.  However, one of those people, I am not.  And I highly suspect that amongst all of those Facebook posts I have seen, that declare all the sappy and super wholesome new things they promise to do……that there are many who won’t make it any further than I would, if I did make a “resolution” list. I gave up setting myself up for failure long ago (well in the area of New Year’s resolutions lists anyway).

With all that said, I still love what the “new year” signifies in the area of “starting fresh”.  We all know you can do that any day, but I try to embrace what this season brings, even if I go against the grain of the official resolutions listing.  Change is part of the standard for this time of year and even though I’m poking a little fun at the declaration part of it, I love the atmosphere that it brings, even if, in most cases, it doesn’t last past March :p

I also feel like “New Year’s resolutions” have an air of “what I have to do better because I really messed up the last year”.  Whether that’s true or not, or whether I’m way over analyzing, I don’t like to look at things that way.  Sure, I made mistakes.  Of course last year was challenging in some ways (hello…..broken ankle, surgery, 21 screws, pneumonia, flu, new job…..and so forth).  But it wasn’t “bad”.  It just showed me how much more I can do and make better for this new year.

ANDDDDD, with all of the even more rambling said, I’m throwing in some contradiction and giving you a list :).  I guess there really isn’t even a way to avoid calling them resolutions, but for the sake of my rebellion against them, we are just going to call this “what I’m choosing differently for 2019”.

Even though the list is mine……part of it and part of me wants you to realize you should/could do it too.

feelings

Tell people how I feel, no matter what the outcome is.  Easy enough to type and easier to be confused by this one, if you know me.  I’m usually always speaking my mind.  But, surprisingly enough, when it comes to making sure people truly know how I feel, I don’t share nearly as much as I probably should.  But 2018 showed me in more than one (and mostly terrible) way that life is too short.  It showed me that 41 years is of no matter when a friend has to die.  It showed me that too much of what I keep to myself, is because I either expect the same profession back, or I am scared of the reaction of the other person.  It’s time for those fears to be squashed.  It’s time to “say the things” with no expectations in return.  In doing that, it frees me and what the other person chooses to do with it, is on them….and whatever that is,I will be fine….because robbing myself of being true to who I am is only robbing me, never the other people. 🙂 Just say the damn words.

report the good

Report the good.  We are so quick to complain or make sure management knows when we aren’t happy.  We want resolution for our pain and suffering, whether it be on a big scale or when our order is messed up at the drive-thru.  We sometimes assume when we get good service, or a good product, etc, that it’s part of their job or that “they” know everything is fine.  I think if we started making it known when we receive “great”, that it might just help in drowning out and eventually erasing so much of the negativity in our lives.  I, for one, could use a heavy dose of being more grateful and looking through a happier lens. Plus, you never know when you doing this will help the person receiving the praise.

pause

Pause and intentionally choose differently.  Even when it’s comfortable.  I’m NOTORIOUS for acting first and thinking later.  Though I have improved, this area still needs a lot of construction!  I’m determined that it’s not the 900 year I-49 expansion type of construction :P, but it needs work, nonetheless.  I have seen and tasted the sweet glory in little areas when I choose to pause first, pray and choose differently than my normal AND WAIT it out.  I can’t say it’s comfortable……actually it’s grossly uncomfortable for me.  But, if I want differently (and better), I have to DO differently (and better).  I don’t know that I have ever had this much conversation with myself (or God) before making the simplest decisions, but I definitely am feeling wiser for it and I want that to continue! I have to find the balance between who I am at my core (an Aries who is flighty, loves “the in and new thing” and bores easily) and weighing long term versus instant gratification.  I also have to stop letting things derail me.  I promise you the devil smells it when I’m on the right track and he sends me all kinds of distractions (that usually work – i.e. boys who seem like they are dateable).  Gotta “stay woke” as the young kids say……or do they still say that?

process

Learn to like chores and the process.  To build on to the above, I learned a lottttt about “process” this year and how important doing the little things are. I will put off a chore for an embarrassing amount of time if any social activities invites are thrown my way.  I have little desire for admin duties, process and chores.  My type is just not built that way.  I justify it with the fact that time with people is what I thrive off of and that you can’t get that back, yada yada yada.  When you shatter your ankle and can’t even pee by yourself for 3 weeks, you sure get a different perspective on how important process is.  Believe me when I tell you that you can’t put one foot in front of the other until you do all the other steps (no pun intended).  I have a whole new appreciation for “process” and chores. I have no idea how I will get better at being consistent and disciplined in them, but it’s on the list to give it the ol’ college try.  Tips appreciated 🙂

invest in the list

Invest in the list, list of people that is.  I have always had a lot of “friends”.  I’ll spare you the sap and quotes about finding quality as you get older and realizing how important having a “core tribe” is.  I love fiercely and wish I could love the same amount of “fierce” on every single person I know.  But I can’t.  We weren’t build that way.  All I can do is be kinder to every person I interact with.  But, if I’m going to do this life alone thing that seems to be happening, and if I can’t guarantee that the nieces are going to take me in when I get older (kidding, kind of)….AND…..at the rate that people really do come and go and disregard relationship (friendship or otherwise)…..then I have to do better at figuring out which people deserve my time, the real me and my fierce love.  I love using social media for the masses and I love people (really, interacting with people is my favorite thing).  I even have gotten to a really good place where I assume that most people that follow or interact with me have good intentions and think I’m awesome :).  I truly don’t care about those that think otherwise.  But I also have to be realistic that no matter how much I love others, they aren’t always going to feel the same about me or give effort to a relationship with me. And honestly (as my niece pointed out), I can’t just give all of me right off the bat to people.  Why do the people that love me most have to share me, or see me be spread thin (and not give them what they deserve) with someone who doesn’t see my worth, etc?  They shouldn’t have to.  So, I have my people list and plan to work on it.  I hope they hold me accountable!

just say no

Say “No” more often, stick to it and be ok with it.  I think this one is self-explanatory.  I also think I have to stop explaining when I do say it.  Sometimes “no” is for self-preservation.  Sometimes “no” is to protect me from making further bad decisions.  Either way, “no” has to be a necessary part of my 2019.  If you know me at all, you know I can’t even schedule a lunch with someone easily because I stay “overbooked”.  That’s nothing to brag about.  But, again, if I want differently, I have to do differently.  That starts with saying “no” to more things and being ok with it.  I have big things to do and I can’t do them, if I’m chasing instant gratification and worrying about missing out.  It all ties in to the whole appreciating the process and remembering the long term benefit thing.  I’m writing this for me to reference….not you :p

use the gifts

Be ok with my gifts.  Lastly, this.  Actually, no.  Don’t be ok with them.  Be PROUD of them.  Be THANKFUL for them.  Be a GOOD STEWARD of them.  I recently had a session with a coach who asked me to describe my “board members” in my life (love how she labeled them) and what about each of them made me consider them so important in my life.  I went through all the attributes and then she threw me a curve ball.  She was writing them down as I was talking and said that I’m attracted to those traits in those people, because I have those in me too.  Tears.  It’s SO HARD for me to hear anything good about myself (working on it). I appreciate it more than ever, though.  I have good in me.  I do have gifts.  If I look back and think about it, or relive certain instances, I am at my best when I see all those gifts being used.  It’s not a new concept. When you are who you are, you attract so much good to you.  I’ll be damned if I hide those anymore because it makes someone else uncomfortable.  I will no longer walk in a room, watch someone else give me those judgy looks when they are watching me tell a story or interact with others and get quiet or back down.  If anything, I’ll tell more stories and laugh a little louder.  I bet if you took a look at your gifts and used them a little more boldly, that you’d see some “new good” too 🙂

So, that’s it.  Tell me I’m not the only one who reflects during this time and has some of these same thoughts too? 🙂

I reserve the right to amend or add at any point.  For now, I’m gonna buckle up and see what kind of tricks 2019 has up it’s sleeve.  I wish you the best in your list too :)!  I hope you find all the happiness you’re searching for and that 2019 brings all that you want it to!  I’m cheering for us all!

It’s Here: The Great Dating Hiatus

Things that have prompted the great dating hiatus (effective immediately):

It’s a jungle out there kids. And I’m fresh out of safari outfits. I’m gonna need y’all to straighten way the heck up by the time I decide to jump back in :p

I joke about dating a lot. And you def have to have thick skin for it these days. But the truth is, unless you’re walking it, you just don’t get how “special” it is…..no worries though, I have captured some of the more recent events, just to give you a taste 🙂

(No lectures and inspirational “you’ll find it when you least expect it”, please. I’m fine. This is mostly funny. Settle down). I realize some of you will wonder how you will fill your time, if I don’t have a crazy dating story.  No worries, there are plenty of old ones that still need to be told!

  • Exhibit A: One of the best 1st dates I have had….with him asking me on a second date and actually physically calling several times…..only to ghost me and “match” with my friends (ghosted count currently sitting at about 3,289). This one actually stings a bit (as much as I hate to admit it….I actually really liked him and feel really weird that I misread him so badly)……..
    • And to further update from when I first started typing this draft, not only did he hit on a friend (he doesn’t know we are connected), but he also asked her for a full body pic.  And when she sent him THE CUTEST pic of her (she really is super adorable, y’all)……he says…and I quote….”I think I’ll pass. Good luck, doll face”.  He later text me letting me know that he had a lunch time rendezvous with someone who reminded him of me because she was “thick and yummy” and he couldn’t wait to put me on the list……um no. My response “yeah, call me in 20 years when your daughter is crying to you about being someone’s sloppy seconds”
    • Update again: Ran into him at the pumpkin patch….he acted like he didn’t know me……..I didn’t show out.  Progress 🙂
  • Exhibit B: A guy friend asking for dating advice and “how to word his profile to ask for full body shots, so he doesn’t end up on a date with a fatty”…without sounding shallow, after he felt like he was deceived on a date by her “creative photography”.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading and that he would say that to me, of all people, a big girl who is in the dating realm.  But he did. Pics attached for reference.  It should also be noted that he is more than willing to ignore warnings about a certifiable crazy…because, ya know…she’s hot. I wish this was fake. But it’s not. And I still haven’t decided how to respond to the last text, because it certainly isn’t a joke.img_4405img_4406img_4407
    • Update:  Never responded to that text.  I don’t have it in me for that battle or to even try to rehab someone who isn’t changeable. Again.  Progress 🙂 And, guess what boys? Big girls don’t care if you don’t like them.  We REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t.  You like what you like and we don’t like a$$hats.  It’s fine.  Just move along.  But you do not get to be a jerk about it.  You being scared to date a big girl says WAY MORE about you than it does her…….trust me.
  • Exhibit C: A previous date situation (and admittedly a huge weakness for me), who came back around and wanted to be friends bc “ricia, you’re awesome and I know I’m not good at dating”….and offered to help with some things around the house. Except on the day he was supposed to show up, he faked a rib injury. How do I know he faked it? Bc he asked one of my friends that he swiped on, out for a beer….and didn’t know she was my friend.
    • Update: He is still a jerk (ok, I don’t know that for sure, but I assume and I’m still too pissed to believe otherwise) and we haven’t talked in months.  Progress.
  • Exhibit D: A guy that I had an “eh” first date with (he peed 7 times on our date and didn’t know who Patti Lebelle was…..don’t act like I’m not supposed to wonder about that), convinced me (Ok, he and the internet voting I let y’all do convinced me) to go on a second date.  He asks if we can reschedule the date to another day because he has a game to go to (He is a coach).  Sure.  I’m flexible.  No biggie.  And then I show up for drinks with friends at our local hangout and he is at the same place……..on a date……….Guess that explains why he had so many questions about all the locations I would be at for the evening.  His date also cried in the bathroom, so there’s that.
  • Exhibit E: Started talking to a guy, did some “internet research” on him….turns out he openly likes Nickelback – can’t even make a first date happen for this one 😛 (i kid, i kid)
  • Exhibit F: Channing Tatum not being available
  • Exhibit G: Guys who post naked pics of themselves as their profile pic.  If that’s what this has come to, just hand me the cats and the old shoe now.  I can’t.  Go ahead, if you don’t know about this, ask a single friend how many unsolicited pics they get on the regular.  Key word: unsolicited
    • This could also be grouped with guys who aren’t actually single.  They are a dime a dozen and it’s tragic how numb you become to it and how it’s not even a surprise anymore.  It’s also tragic at how easy it is to figure it out and they try to pass it off anyway (ask me about the married preacher story)
  • Exhibit H: Guys who linger in the background of your Facebook and only pop up when they see opportunity or are on the prowl for whatever mood their in……..only to never actually follow through on anything.
  • Exhibit I: I’m not equipped to handle the dating scene where everyone is talking to multiple people.  We, as humans were not built to know this many people and have this many options.  We just weren’t.  And being a girl who compares myself to the 72 single girls added to a guy’s FB friend’s list daily, is NOT who I want to be.  I can’t become her, because she is a destructive human and I have worked too hard to avoid being that.
  • Exhibit J: My trust issues run deep.  There has never been a secret in that.  I struggle with it daily and actively work on it daily.  The worst is when you are raw about that with someone and feel like you are dealing with it as best as you can, in a safe space…..only for it to be turned on you to take blame off of them, so they can avoid taking ownership of their own actions (or lack thereof).  But with all that on me….I will NEVER allow myself to be ashamed or think I’m unworthy.
  • Exhibit K: Poor decisions on my part in general, made out of fear and loneliness, that only left me empty and back at square one.  Those have to stop.  And the only way to address them is to get to the core, without distraction.  I’m so far from perfect that perfect isn’t even in the same hemisphere as me.  But mistakes don’t make me unworthy or “unfixable”.  If you’re reading this, you have to believe that too!

Lots of progress was made in the dating arena this year (despite the above).  Walls were let down that I didn’t know would ever come down…..and I’m actively fighting to leave them down, instead of building them taller.  I won’t ever hate that 🙂

There is still hope.  I have more than ever to offer the right relationship….and I can’t wait to find it! But for now, my heart needs a little break.  And that’s ok! I’m excited to do a little more work on myself and blaze a new trail 🙂

How long will the hiatus last? Who knows!  Until I feel like my heart is ready and someone convinces me that they are worth my effort, I suppose.  Or maybe if it’s an actual organic connection (through mutual friends, etc) and comes about more naturally than Panther5000 with his airbrushed pics and mullet, from the internet  😛

What can you do if you have a single friend who is struggling in dating:

Nothing.  Just be present.  Please don’t try to tell us what you think from the chair of your marriage or relationship.  Dating is hard.  Single streets are hard.  Things that you think couldn’t possibly happen, actually happen regularly.  So, just pour them a shot…..try to help them from doing completely crazy crap 🙂 and love them through it.

Sometimes and Always

Sometimes you sleep so hard (and didn’t have to get up to pee – YAY!), that you actually hit the 9 hour sleep mark and end up over sleeping a bit.

Sometimes you wake up with the worst allergy headache (even though you have never dealt with allergies before)

Sometimes your dog is a jerk and takes the whole “look buddy, all this room to explore now” a little too far and makes you have to text your boss to say “sorry, I’ll be a little late, my dog is a jerk”. But here is a pic of him being cute to remind me that he’s worth keeping (and not putting up a “dog for sale” sign)

Sometimes bracelets you have had for ten years make an appearance and you get a cheesy life lesson of “making old things new” (and making you pause in your “cleaning out and getting a whole new life” to realize that keeping some of the old isn’t always bad either)

Sometimes the free “in shower” self tanner product you were given, sits on a throne of lies and you come out streaked and have to over compensate (hoping nobody notices – and thankfully the girls in the office assure you that you’re safe)

Sometimes you have no idea what the heck those streaks are on your dress in a picture, but you have already changed 3 times so you’re going with it…..

Sometimes online dating takes you through 9,000,000 jerks and you wake up to a message that says “if I liked bigger girls, I think you would be a hoot to get to know”

BUT ALWAYS (alllwaaayyyys), even in the “messy sometimes”, you can still find a reason to laugh and be happy……..and this purple dress with pockets and these bright earrings are definitely happiness!

I’m naturally a more realistic person, that sometimes ends up seeming negative.  I have to consciously choose to pick joy.  I literally have to talk it out loud over and over sometimes.  But you know what?  As cheesy as it is, it really works.  And whether you believe it or not, it really does flow out of you for others to see.  It’s so simple to do (and I don’t like a lot of extra work, so if something so little can make such a big difference, then I’m IN!).  I give people PLENTY of things to say about me….but I truly hope that being more intentional about being more of a light, will be one of the main things that starts being spread about me (even if it’s through laughing at that dang roller coaster video of me).

Life is so different when you are looking through the lens of joy and choosing to be thankful and see the good.  I promise you if you give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.  And I promise you that there will be people on board that will ALWAYS only want to hang on to how you “used to be”……let those people live in that bubble and you keep moving along.  Eventually you’ll be so far down the road, you won’t even be able to see them in the rearview!

HAPPY THURSDAY!!!!!!!

Fancy’s Swimsuit Edition…..Wearing Whatever the Flip I want……..

I typed. Retyped. Started a new draft, with new thoughts. Went back to the old draft. I made sure I covered all the past things that got me here (mean high school girls, chocolate gravy for breakfast as a little girl, hysterectomy at a very young age).  And all that just took up too many words and seemed to STILL miss the one main point of this post, all together.

All I really need to say is this….I have fallen in in love with my body. And with that said, I have some killer swimsuits this season that need their moment.  So please allow me to introduce you to some great swimsuits for those of us with a little oomph and extra! 🙂  Of course, they come with a few paragraphs of life lesson, which I hope you won’t mind!  Frankly, I just do not care about how uncomfortable you are with how fantastic I feel about myself, nor do I care to suffer through an Arkansas summer more covered than necessary (I HATE THE HEAT)!

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It makes zero sense to be this in love with a body that needs so much improvement. But I truly love it. I actually don’t want it to look too much differently than it does now. I mean that. I have come a LONG WAY in ceasing to compare myself with other bodies.  It feels SO GOOD to look at a pic of another woman and think “she is so pretty” or “I love that outfit” versus the other horrible comparisons I would do, or even worse, trying to find someone that I thought looked bigger and worse than me so that I would feel better about what I currently looked like. I am so ashamed to admit that I did that.

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I want this body to be healthier. I don’t want gravity to take over. I need the fine lines and wrinkles to simmer down.  However, this poor body has carried me through some terrible times. It has had the worst neglect and too many “I’ll start tomorrow”, to count. It has been beaten and spit on. In it’s current state, literally every day that I wake up, it has to decide to fight against an illness I like to pretend I don’t have. Lately, walking at all is more of an accomplishment than I have shared with most of my people.

 

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It could’ve failed me long ago. It could’ve put out a completely different reflection, based on what I have put in it over time. But it hasn’t (thankfully!!). So, I owe it a bit more credit than I have given it in the past. PLUS, I decorate it pretty well on most days!

I know how much work it took, to only take way too long to get here.  The last thing I want is to contribute to any other little girl or woman watching me attack myself and thinking it’s ok.  I try to be especially careful of what I say about myself when I am in front of my nieces or friend’s kids (or on first dates, for the matter).  It’s VERY important to me that I do all that i can to influence them to value themselves, just the way they are. It is my passion that every girl feel good about and love herself.  I mean that with every fiber in this newly loved body!

So when I walked out of my room in my swimsuit and my nieces said “Oh Auntie Ricia, I love that suit.  You look so so pretty!!!”, and when they were the ones who pushed for me to “put it on your Instagram” …..I figured today was just as good as any to do the swimsuit showoff I have wanted to do for so long.  I want them to see me loving my body and being ok with whomever may see it.

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I had been waiting for the perfect situation (makeup, hair, tan, someone to help me snap the pics, perfect weather, not bloated….miracle major weight loss, bla bla and so on)…when all I really needed were a couple of 8 year olds saying “put your hand on your hip and smile bigger”.  I wanted to even hire someone with mad photoshop skills to do a little smoke and mirrors.  But, that would defeat the purpose of the lesson, right?  Hold please, I need to pause and take another deep breath.  I cannot believe I’m doing this.

 

 ANYWAY……the process was pretty hilarious and has made for an awesome memory for them.  We got caught in a storm while we were at the pool, doing the initial shoot.  We powered through and then made a mad dash back to my apartment, completely drenched (see “after pic directly below)! Even though most of those pics were ruined and we had to call reinforcements in for help, the littles learned a lot about dancing in the rain and finding the good in not ideal situations.  They went from being a bit scared of the storm, to getting back upstairs and saying “THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN, AUNTIE RICIA”!!!  Mission accomplished!!!

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I think it’s funny how this whole life thing is working out. I’m aware of the bad decisions that got me in this physical state and I long to be healthier. I had no idea how hard the mental road to reverse lifestyle and upbringing would be. I get SO FRUSTRATED that now my body just can’t cooperate that easily to just get healthier.  I am angry at an illness that provides hurdles and still struggle with the looks I get from people when I try to explain (you know that look of “if you would just lose some weight you would……be this or that).  But even in this state. I’m also the happiest I have ever been. I love how kind life is back to you , when you try to work alongside it versus fighting it or going your own road.

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The scale may not show it, but in many ways I have shed weight. The weight of toxic people (and more of that is in the works). The weight of trying to please others. The weight of saying yes all the time. The weight of worrying myself sick about what others might think or how they spin their side of a story (it’s really none of my business what people think or say of me). That alone has probably shed thousands of pounds 😛.  I am consciously trying to be kinder and speak love and encouragement to others.  I am declaring that I absolutely refuse, from this moment forward, to make one woman feel better, by tearing another down (i.e. Oh his new girlfriend is way uglier than you).

This week, my nieces showed me that they genuinely think I am beautiful. So I guess I should let myself believe it too. As a matter of fact, I have no intentions of hanging out with anyone who doesn’t see me the way they do, anymore! I hope when they are older, they come across this rambling and know what a cool day this turned out to be!

I’m promising myself that I will believe in this post.  I will not worry or let my mind wonder to a place where there are screenshots and memes made and conversations behind my back!  I will try my best not to worry about a few that I know would never say anything to my face, but will definitely not agree that I should be this comfortable being this fat, much less putting it all on the internet.  I’m not going to give in to worrying about how much better I would look if I actually had knees 🙂 (for the record, I never really have, even at my smallest).

I hope that if you’ve read this far and browsed the included pics, that you see joy and that you feel inspired to be just a little nicer to yourself when you sport your next swimsuit.  And lastly, I hope that if you came across this and use it to shame, belittle, or talk about “did you see what Alicia had the nerve to post of herself….that girl is too big to be wearing a two piece”…..that you have a few days of explosive diarrhea! :p

I will be forever thankful for three little girls who made me feel like the prettiest girl in the world (and a few friends who go out of their way to make me feel that way often!)!

The end (for now).

P.s.

I wore the two piece the rest of the day, while we played and enjoyed some sunshine. It felt so fire!! Look at this look! It screams comfortable and relaxed!!!

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Swimsuit Info/Links:

Red two piece

Black/White Wrap

Black w/ aztec-ish trim

Gingham top

Black and White Strapless and RWB Paisley: Walmart (two years ago, no longer available) – but here is a link to their great swimsuit options from this season 

I’m cooler than you on Father’s Day…..

(I’ll get back to funny soon – there are some GREAT dating stories in store)
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I am cooler!  And I’ll tell you why in just a sec (and it’s not just because of how cute I was as a baby – look at that face!).  First, I have to say Happy Father’s day to all the dads, moms who play dad, men who stand in the gap, and to the men who chose to be dads when they didn’t have to be!!  Your role is more important than ever…..and I’m lucky to have had the best and know some of the best!  I am also lucky to have some pretty great faux dads that have taken me in as their own (especially the latest guy – my mom’s fiance, who has done nothing short of making sure my mom and me and my sisters are taken care of!! Love you, Joel!)
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I’ve never been able to sit still and find a way to write all the encompasses my dad.  Or, I should say that I’ve never felt like I could do it justice.  He really deserves a book.  I’m not just saying that as a proud daughter, who thinks her dad was the greatest.  I mean, he really deserves a book.  He is the survivor of a terrible incident (as in survivor out of 9 people that these monsters killed – while being handcuffed to a dead guy and stuffed in the trunk of a car – where he was trapped fro 6 hours in June, in Arkansas…..sooooo yeah, that’s a story worth telling).  A book is on my bucket list to complete, but for now, I blame life in general and a ridiculous amount of fear for not having done it yet.
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Although the above tid bit is enough to put him leaps and bounds ahead on the list of great guys, that’s not why makes me cooler than you on Father’s Day.  I could argue that these throw back pics included should definitely put me at the top of cool, but that’s not it either.
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You see, what makes me just a TINY bit cooler than you today (unless you’re my friend Aaron, I’m not as cool as him) is that I get this day as a reminder that I was chosen.  I’m gonna take it up a notch and even say that I was hand picked.  My dad came along after I was already born.  I was part of the package of loving my mom and I was VERY young when he showed up.  Thankfully, too young to know that the “real” one had basically abandoned his opportunity to raise this legend!  And thankfully, too young to have that pre-established hesitation for someone coming into the picture (even though the above shows me less than happy, in general. haha).
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I’m more than proof that DNA isn’t the sole factor of making a child.  My dad chose me.  I think that’s what has always made me a little cool 🙂  He didn’t have to be my dad, but he made the conscious decision to.  And he did so, fiercely.  There was never a difference.  Not one time.  If anything, he was harder on me.  I am more like him than I would’ve ever thought possible – and I’m ok with that 🙂  (even the stubborn).  He and my pop were two of the most important men in my life and I will never be the same without them – but I’m proud to be who I am because of their influence!
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Some guys don’t get to choose.  Some are told they are going to be a dad and enter into the role out of obligation.  Some know they want to be a dad and follow the process of “first comes love, then comes marriage……”.  Any way that you become a dad and step up to the role is great.  I in no way want to disregard that. I just simply want to recognize that  (and am a little partial to this method) my dad chose me.  To make a deliberate choice to fill a role, an often thankless role and to fill the role with your whole heart – THAT makes you one heck of a guy!
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One of my favorite stories is told by my aunt, after my dad passed.  She tells about the first day my dad had duty alone with me.  She says that he came to my grandma’s with me in tow, in matching denim overalls.  She goes on to always make sure I know that on that day, she had never seen my dad look more proud.  She talks about how he entered the house, carrying me, and was beaming.  My dad had been through a lot by then.  He had a lot of reasons to not be a happy person.  And, if you knew him, you knew that he definitely had his grumpy and closed off side.  A side I fought him on through much of my teenage years (because of course I was dramatic and wanted to always talk about my feelings lol – oh his eye rolls will forever be stuck in my head).  But to hear her tell about how on that day, he had a glow………GOODNESS it makes my heart tingle EVERY TIME I recount it!
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My dad expected a lot from me.  My dad was strict.  My dad was one of the best math teachers to ever live. MY DAD WAS A FIGHTER (polio, shot and left for dead, heart attack on the day of my grandpa’s funeral, and a cancer journey).  You will be hard pressed to find someone that was as tough as him.  And he NEVER complained.  He might have gotten grumpier at times, but he just never complained.  He wouldn’t ever let me cry for very long without expecting me to pick myself up and keep moving.  He wasn’t a “hugger” or emotionally available guy. I can still remember the first time he truly said “I love you”.  It was a big deal.  He HATED that I was a procrastinator.  We spent most of my teen years fighting.  He didn’t “save” me from a lot of mistakes, because he knew that I was the type that just had to learn on my own – but also believed in me enough to know I was smart enough to eventually figure it out (even if I took longer than he cared for, to do so).  I’m sure we could all say we gave our parents a run for their money.  BUT HE CHOSE TO STAY.  He chose me.  And I know that he was proud.  He told me so, before he died, in a very emotional voicemail, that I would sell my soul to the devil to still have.
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I can’t stop smiling and I have erased how many extra times I have typed it already.  HE CHOSE ME.  And I didn’t appreciate it enough, of course, until it was too late, and he was gone forever.  But, like I typed above, he always knew I would “get it” eventually.  So, I’m sure he is wondering around in heaven, not a bit surprised that I took way too long to “get it” about him.
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I could sit on the front porch all day, with a glass of cold sweet tea and tell story, after story about him.  His story gives me breath and life….and it’s REALLY COOL that when I seem to be missing him the most, the big guy sends someone my way to listen to me ramble about what an incredible story (or 3) my dad had.  He is one of three major examples that contribute to me being set apart (I don’t say that to brag – because if anything, I’m a little ashamed that I haven’t made the most of what is so clear about those examples).
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I don’t know why it took me until the eve of this Father’s Day to realize the whole chosen thing.  I wish it would’ve “clicked” while he was still alive, so that I could write him a cheesy card that he would just roll his eyes at and throw away (he was a man of few words – I was a child of too many words lol).  Maybe he would’ve kept it – he did keep this amazing wood burning art I did for him :P.  He wouldn’t have sat and let me brag too much about him though, he wasn’t that kind of guy.
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I’m pretty lucky that I was chosen.  I’m pretty proud at how many people also saw how awesome he was, and I will never tire of hearing people talk about him (they still do, to this day – which is testament enough to his impact).  It’s pretty hard to justify letting anyone tear you down or make you believe in yourself less, when you had someone choose to fill one of the biggest roles in your life.  I had someone pick me!  And I will do my best to remember that before I cry to a friend (like I may/may not have done last week) when some stupid guy doesn’t pick me.
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Thanks for letting me type out loud and process what is normally a rough reminder day.  If you read all the words, thanks for letting me proudly share about my awesome dad.  If your dad is still here, hug him or call him, but do not let him go unappreciated on this day.  Dad’s are such important people!

Raw and Uncut…ex-boyfriends,triggers and hurts…..

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I wasn’t going to say anything.  I knew what was happening and I knew how I was trying to handle it was not going to work.  But, I let too much “noise” get in my head and tell me that nobody wants to hear it. Or, that it’s been long enough that I should be over it.  Or, the worst one, the voice of my ex boyfriend, immediately following the events, who kept saying “you’re too obsessed about it – you just have to get over it”……….

So, as per usual, I filled myself with temporary distractions.  So many distractions actually, that I ran myself in the complete opposite direction, straight into pure exhaustion.  In doing that, I seemed to forget one little detail……exhaustion is one of the two biggest enemies of my chronic condition.  And thanks to all that madness, here I sit………my body in total rebellion and if I’m being ridiculously raw, my heart sutures, a little busted.

And the only way I know how to feel better, is to write.  You see, no matter what you personally think of my words (or of me, for that matter), I don’t write them for you (or maybe this time, I actually do).  I write them because out of all the things I don’t like about myself, and out of all ways I question what the heck I am wondering around this planet for, typing words is the only thing I’m sure of.  It’s the only thing that boosts me into dealing with whatever I need to (yes, even if it’s a funny dating story).  And more than that, it’s the only thing that I KNOW is meant for something bigger than me.  I know if it’s taking me to such an uncomfortable place to write/type them, then it’s also meant for someone else to read.  Even if it’s just one person.  I think it’s even more cool that my job is to write it and release it.  It’s not for me to know where it lands from there.  

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Sorry, I digress.  I came here to admit and face today.  Not to over explain myself. So, Hi, my name is Alicia and I’m hurting.  I’m also angry.  I want to be in a different place and I’m not and I know it won’t go away until I tell you about it.  Why the universe puts me in these positions to open myself up to so much, I’m not sure….but I’m definitely gonna address it when I get in front of the big guy :p!

Five years ago this last week, at around 4:30 in the morning, I sent an email to my core tribe of friends, telling them that I was in serious danger and needed help.  I asked them not to contact me until I could escape and make contact with them.  I admitted that I hadn’t been truthful with them about what was going on in my life.  I confessed that I was terrified of what would happen to me.  For a few seconds, I questioned whether I was being too dramatic in what I was saying.  I couldn’t use my phone, and I wasn’t even sure if any of them would check their email.  Then, he woke up.  And it all started again.  Nope, definitely wasn’t dramatic in my email.  To this day, I firmly believe that if he hadn’t have passed back out from being so drunk, that he would have followed through on his promise to kill me.  And that was the start of a living hell on earth.  

My deliverance from abuse was nothing short of carefully orchestrated moments and miracles.  Period.  It just was.  I wish I could tell you more.  But I can’t.  Even after five years, I am yet to be able to sit down and write it all out or tell the story in any translatable format.  For someone like me, that is so foreign.  I’m a story teller after all.  Yet, it never fails that people come across my path and the story (or the parts that are needed to) come up.  I share and exhale.  And then I swell with gratefulness.  I struggle with why I’m not supposed to share the “cool” parts of the story with the masses.  But, I have to trust that it’s to come where it’s supposed to.  

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Let me bring the point of this a little more together and wrangle it in.

  1.  It still hurts.  It hurts differently.  But, it still hurts.  I’m not sure that it will ever go away.  And that’s ok.  I’m not where I was.  And healing doesn’t always mean it all goes away.  Being tough doesn’t shield you from the sneakiness of the triggers.  Those little brats show up out of nowhere.  I’m more than thankful to be equipped with the right tools and right people to help me through them.  There is no shame in the admittance of the triggers, the asking for help or the sitting and simply feeling them.  
  2. I shouldn’t have ignored the triggers this last week.  I knew it was coming.  This anniversary and a few other dates ALWAYS trigger something.  Thankfully, it’s smaller triggers, like simple unsettled feelings and a general uncomfortable feeling.  I start sleeping less EVERY SINGLE YEAR during this time (the thief comes in the night, right?).  And I try to ignore it.  Because, according to others, I should be over it already.  And EVERY SINGLE YEAR, I end up here.  Completely drained.  Mark these words though, it will be the last year that the ignoring happens.  Next year, it’s a tropical vacation of poolside sitting and feeling it all.  Raw.
  3. The physical scars and abuse went away.  The mental mountain has been way harder to climb.  I’m SO PROUD of all the work I have done and the network I have had to get over “him”.  You know what lingers the most?  The first person I dated after.  The one I said “ok” to and opened myself up to.  The one who I knew before, the safe one, who pursued me.  The one that I gave ALL the trust I had left to.  The one I trusted with my completely shattered heart and damaged self.  Yeah, that one hurt the most.  Because he was the one who couldn’t deal with the Alicia that I was.  I know it’s not completely his fault.  I wasn’t in a place that I should’ve been dating at all.  And I said that multiple times.  But he still worked to gain my trust.  And I gave it to him.  And when I let myself love and be completely me, even the broken parts – he couldn’t handle it.  And in what I’m sure he thought was just tough love and brutal honesty, his words and actions (or serious lack there of) completely ruined me.  They were the “nail in the coffin”.  And what maybe would’ve been another year of work and healing to be past the abuse, has now lingered a very long five years.  And that’s all ok.  Because no matter what story he tells himself or others, or how happy he is in his own moving on, he served his purpose in my journey.  
  4. I’m still grateful.

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LISTEN TO ME RIGHT NOW…….

  1.  If you are in an abusive situation, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get out.  PLEASE ask for help.
  2. If you are dealing with anything traumatic – feel it.  No matter how big or small the situation seems, if it is impacting you – then it’s real. If you feel it, it’s real.  And you NEED to feel it.  I can remember SO MANY days of checking the clock and thinking “ok, I just made it through an hour.” and I would take a deep breath and try to make it through the next.  That is as literal and truthful as can be.  Hour by hour.  I couldn’t even make it through a day.  I had to take it hour by hour.  And it wasn’t until I acknowledged and owned that feeling, for that time, that I could even think about how to make it through a day.  

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3.  If you are a friend of someone in that situation or of someone who has escaped….WATCH YOUR WORDS.  Watch your judgement.  Period.  It’s not about you.  It’s not up to you to decide how they heal or how long it takes.  If you can’t play the role, then don’t.  That’s ok, too.  But you do not accept the role and get to dictate how the victim deals.  You just don’t.  I’m sorry.  I know it’s seems so easy to help and for them to see how they should just be ok.  They are out, they are safe, so they’re good?  Nope.  Not how it works.  And if you can’t step outside of yourself and choose to love unconditionally – then you DO NOT deserve the person in the first place.  You just don’t.  Because your judgement and impatience is doing more damage than being thrown up against a wall will EVER DO.  

4.  If you come into a person’s life long after the event, consider yourself a sacred part of their life.  You probably won’t understand, why five years later, on a Monday night, they are texting asking for random prayer.  You might not understand why they seemed fine a few days ago and then all of the sudden just seem cranky, and puffy, and tired and stupid sensitive.  Just hold on for a minute and love them anyway.  The hardest thing I have ever had to do is let people like me and know what the past few years have held for me.  And at the same time, the easiest thing for me to do is to cut you right on out if you screw with what little trust and heart I have left.

5.  Let me make this clear one more time.  You DO NOT get to tell someone that how you made them feel isn’t valid.  You just don’t.  You don’t have to agree with how they feel.  You can think whatever you want.  But, if you truly love them or are truly their friend, you HAVE to acknowledge that their feeling is just as valid as yours.  Read this again: YOU DO NOT GET TO DECIDE HOW SOMEONE FEELS OR HEALS.  

ok.  

I already feel better, even in the midst of busted sutures, that unfortunately have left me more vulnerable than I care for……. and even in the midst of a lot of things piling on (of my own doing, for trying to be tough and hide feelings) and a to do list still a mile long.  Writing with all those feelings seeping out of me is the best therapy (accompanied by a great playlist).  You can think that is dramatic if you want to.  Maybe it is.  Maybe I just feel that hard.  And maybe I’m done apologizing for that.  I will never fully heal if I don’t shut those other voices of doubt and judgement out.  To be honest, it’s probably those things that have kept me from healing, way more than the abuse memories have.  

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And in it’s own twisted way, and with all those rambling words above, it’s actually beautiful how something so awful keeps coming up at all.  Because each time it does, as painful as it is, I can’t deny how much I have learned. I mean it when I say that it truly is a beautiful story. It seems like it keeps coming up so that I don’t forget that I have climbed a damn big mountain 🙂  These pics were from my first beach trip, ever in my life, which happened to come not long after my escape (one of those cool parts I reference).  Just digging those out again and including them here makes me reflect on how surrounded I was.  The things that happened were amazing.  

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I am stronger.  I KNOW that I have shared it with those that needed to hear it for whatever reason.  I am wiser.  I am more intentional.  I am protected from ever going through that again.  I found out that as much as my core and heart can be shattered, that it can also be rebuilt (sometimes even better than before).  

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Released and now I can rest.  I look forward to a good night’s sleep.  Thanks for reading.

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Dungeons and Douchebags: The Wackelors of The Bachelorette

Well, COMPLETELY against my will, and apparently for the single purpose of getting my blog juices going again, I watched The Bachelorette premiere tonight.  I didn’t necessarily mean to.  But, some of my family, inclusive of twenty-somethings are here for the night and convinced me to put it on.  My 22 year old was just as annoyed as me and I can honestly say that I don’t know if I have been more proud of her! :p  In theory, I would continue to watch the season and keep writing.  In reality, I’ll consider it a success if I finish the premiere.  

First, I need to apologize to anyone who thought I was smarter than this.  I know you’re disappointed in my choices.  But, I have to appeal to all the people.  I am lover of all (except those few that did me dirty :p jk jk – kinda).  So, as much as I love my investigative shows and documentaries, I have to venture out to see what the rest of the world is up to! 😛

Anyway – let’s get started.  I only came in a few before Lucas entered and already can’t remember half of their names.  So, tonight’s commentary is a bit scattered and will focus on the things that stuck out the most to me.  

Let’s begin with the dummy (no, not the human guys – although there are already a few dummies fo sho).  That stupid puppet has more game than my last 5 dates.  I wish I were lying.  

The Bachelorette herself:

I can guarantee you she has already eliminated more than half of these dudes, in her mind, within the first 10 minutes.  She is not impressed by some of you fools.  She seems smart, but all brain cells can be altered with 31 yay-whos in a room trying to get your attention.  

I like to think I could get along with her, because she cannot hide how she feels, on her face – and anyone who knows me, knows I can’t either.  I’m hoping this is our common bond that helps me survive this episode.

When she says “I feel like the luckiest girl in the world”, I couldn’t help but think – OF COURSE YOU DO!  You have 31 dudes at your disposal and nobody is calling you a slut for talking to all of them at once!  You also are getting to juggle 31 somewhat normal-isn dudes who will be on their best behavior.  You’re not in Tinder anymore Dorothy.  Congratulations. 

Now to the boys: again, I came in late and I am overwhelmed, so some of them just get nicknames.

In general, guys do not sit around and talk like this and analyze, do they??  I mean, I know most of it is for the show

Kenny, the wrestler –  I don’t hate you.  Don’t let me down.

Lucas – it should be obvious all the things I have to say about him.  But, for the sake of warning the rest of Americans who haven’t had the pleasure yet, I’ll throw it out there.  DO NOT talk about your testicles through a megaphone on national television.  And stop shaking your face.  Nobody even understands your existence yet, except for the fact that every season has to have the one crazy.  HOWEVER, I do owe Lucas a Thank You!  I almost forgot that I hadn’t blogged about my last dating story that is one of the top three of all time!  You’ll have to stay tuned for that to understand how Lucas reminded me of it. 

Attorneys – I get it.  You put them on there because she is one, and the ones you chose are handsome. One is proud of himself (Josiah) and one can’t get his eyes or head at a normal level. But, I think we can all agree that attorneys are a direct spawn of the snake in the Garden of Eden. (sorry to all attorneys out there and please answer my call if I ever need you)

Vacuum dude – I like your approach.  Any woman who says a man with a vacuum isn’t hot, is lying.  But, you’re trying too hard running that dang thing while she is trying to talk.  My hope is that you have more to offer than this. 

Tickle Monster (as in he legit lists this as his job) – I can’t hate you.  At least you are calling it a job versus the 4,236 guys I have come across that say “consultant”, which really means they are unemployed.  But show me one person who isn’t annoying after the first 3 seconds of tickling someone (keep it clean!). 

Male Model – “I would be so devastated if I didn’t get a rose. Yeah, I don’t know what I would do”.  Yes, you’re right.  Your life would be over.  How would you ever walk out of there and find a woman?  I get it.  Must be horrible, with that deep voice and chiseled jaw line. 

Marine – Asian guy – you win, simply because I love marines…..and Asians.  You. Are. Adorable.  You are one of my top 3.

Penguin guy – nope.  Not giving you more than this space.  You are a copy cat, and a terrible one at that.  There is no other costume entrance like shark girl from last season.  Stop tryin.

Aspiring Drummer – every season needs the emotional one.  You win.  Quit cryin, it’s only the first session.

Chiropractor – you had me at “I could get free adjustments for the rest of my life” – but when you went for a kiss on the first night…..and went so hard that she couldn’t breathe AND for so long….I was out on you.  However, if she boots you and you’re just looking for something to do, I’m usually free on any day that ends with Y. 

WAIT – WHAT??? As I’m typing that last line, that’s who she steals to give the first impression rose to?  Ok, girl.  I see what tone you’re going to set here.  S M D H 

Ok, now I’m done.  If I were there, I would be right in the middle of the ego fest inside and wondering what the heck just happened.  PLUS, the way he kisses just makes me uncomfortable.  It gives me the same reflex as hearing the word moist. (acckkkk, I can’t even type that without gagging).  

Ah, there is Cry Baby Magee.  The one that gets kicked off that cries.  You talked to her for probably a total of 3 minutes and got let go, and now you’re crying because you brought lots of outfits you won’t get to wear.  No.  Boy puh-lease.  Welcome to every girl who has ever been stood up.  Imagine all the wasted outfits out there.  YOu ain’t the first.  You won’t be the last.  Pssshhhh.

Here’s what we do.  This show has been around long enough.  It’s time to switch it up.  You bring in a fat girl (ack hmmm).  You bring in all these guys.  As they get out of the limo, they are clearly shocked.  They aren’t used to someone not looking like a model, what kind of trickery is this?  They go into the main house and homegirl hears them talking about her.  She is so distraught that she runs away.  BUT, secretly, she is going away to fat camp.  She gets a naughty body to the point that she is unrecognizable.  They bring the guys back and say “sorry we trick you, we have a different bachelorette now”.  Enter, “new girl”, who is really old girl.  Their mouths start watering.  And in another twist, she automatically cuts the ones who talked about her and lets the actual nice ones that would’ve given her a chance, stay.  

Call me Hollywood, I’m here for you.  

Freeing Fridays: Walking in the Rain

I think I may be the only person who was genuinely excited about the storms today.  I finally got to wear my new, glittered rain boots, so rain didn’t bother me at all!  I never got to do much in the rain as a kid.  If we had rain boots, I don’t really remember them, but I can bet that my mom was not having us messing in mud puddles.  I had no idea what I was missing!  It was the most fun I have had in the last couple (of very challenging ) weeks! I would love to share some encouragement with you on this rainy day.  Because you can make fun of the cheesy revelations all you want, but I have no shame in fighting through this crazy world with rainy day revelations!

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Anyway!  See my video rambles today while I willingly stood out in the rain (and had a fantastic dance party to HARD LOVE by Needtobreathe).  I was actually so in love with my little break that I didn’t even take time to remember to care what I looked like or what angle things were being done at……..and that might be the most freeing thing of it all!

 

And check out these great rain boots!

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Crying Over Cracked Eggs

I have been a pretty tough and optimistic cookie lately. You know the old “power through, I am tough, it could be worse” method…I have even kept my mouth relatively shut vs confrontation (shocking, I know). But, when I just pulled into my parking lot after a long week already, I discovered my eggs, that I just bought, were broken. I needed them to make a dish for someone who had surgery. I was trying to do good. Yet, here I sit. The eggs did it. They sent me over the edge. I don’t even want to walk up the stairs to my apartment. So here I sit, in my car. Turning my music up, taking a deep breath and writing 5 good things that happened today and 5 things I am thankful for, on a crumpled napkin. Oh, and writing this terribly formatted blog while it’s fresh on my mind.


I refuse to cave into misery from an undesirable day (or couple of weeks for that matter). I just can’t. I am too tired to do that anymore. I am only interested in forward movement, solutions and goodness as end results. I can’t do what I used to in going inside, eating something terrible and zombie-ing out on the couch, pouting about how bad things suck.
I’m not typing to be a guru, inspirational, cheesy or declare that I am on a higher platform than another (because if bad food and wine and tv is what you need after a terrible day, then you do you, boo). I’m not publishing it for the secret stalkers to interpret as “Alicia is so negative” or “oh look, Alicia is falling apart and can’t handle rough times” or “Alicia is being dramatic”.
I’m typing it out loud because I need to read it for myself. And I know that there is someone out there who might need to read it too. And if there are a hundred bad things about me, there is at least one good thing in that I have usually been decent with words. I’m typing it to be transparent in the fact that I have a ton of good days and stories and outfits to share, but I am also human (despite my capes and glitter accessories).
It’s ok to have a bad day. It’s ok to say or type it out loud. It’s ok to cry over cracked eggs. But now that this song I was blaring is over and my car did the auto shut-off (and I am realizing its freezing with no jacket)…..it’s time for me to move along. And you can bet I am. I actually needed this to force me into other action in an effort to do something about current situations.
You can acknowledge the bad out loud and you can even feel it however you need to. You just can’t stay there.
Here’s to cracked eggs and hoping my recipe tastes good with wine as a substitute 😝😝😝😝😝. I already feel better!!!