Tapas and Tiaras…Fancy Goes To Barcelona 

Where do I even begin for today’s recap?Today has been a day that definitely deserves a “hashtag blessed” with no shame. I have used every cliche white girl phrase I know to go on and on about the day!

MY MIND AND MY HAIR

It occurred to me this morning on the way to the train station (as I was furiously typing and journaling notes before I forgot them) that my mind hasn’t been this clear in ages!!!!!! I keep equating it to a visual of a custodian with an industrial broom, sweeping and cleaning up the floor. There is nothing in the room, it’s a clean slate. Ahhhhh….that feeling is so great!!!! I owe Spain big time for that alone.
In America my hair is dry and brittle and I spend an ungodly amount of money to try and make it soft and luscious! In Spain, it’s a dang hair commercial and so soft I can’t do anything with it…yet, I wanna touch it all the time and want everyone to know how soft it is!



HOTEL

Let’s start with the hotel. We are staying at the Olivia Balmes and it is D I V I N E! We were greeted by the best staff. We were early and hoping they would just hold our bags until we could check in, so we wouldn’t have to carry them while we explored. That wasn’t acceptable to them. They instead went ahead and prepared our room AND gave us champagne while we waited! Not to mention, our host Lenin is VERY easy on the eyes! ☺️ There is a rooftop pool (that sadly thanks to unexpected cooler weather, we wont be able to use-but the rooftop in general is pretty awesome), our room is great, we met some lovely people from Connecticut and it’s surprisingly quiet here.

Temperature 

It. Is. perfect. 

Enough said. For me anyway. For my friend and others, it could be interpreted as cold. I will admit that I needed a scarf at dinner, but that is still the just right weather for me!!

FOOD

Our new friend on staff, Lenin, gave us a lunch suggestion and this, people, is where the day gets good!!!! MY GOODNESS the food!! We sat down, allowed our waiter Carlos to order tapas for us and pour us sangria and life just got exponentially better from there. THE FRESHEST tuna, THE MOST succulent crab/tropical salad, some form of chips with a caramel glaze AND…..fried potatoes with fried egg and some magic sauce (this last one- my my my -it’s what I imagined A 6 star Waffle House with a hangover would be 😜). JUST LOOK AT THE FOOD!!!! Praises ALL AROUND!!! I’m not ashamed to say I savored and made sweet love to every bite I took! Tonight we had dinner on the oceanfront, with more huge yachts. It was filled with great convo as well as a phenomenal and peaceful atmosphere! It’s not that busy this time of year, which makes getting into restaurants pretty easy.


SHOPPING

High end shopping was not something we were gonna pass up since the gang is all here (Luis, Gucci, Chanel, Tiffany’s, Hermes, Cartier, etc). We knew we could hang so we did what anyone of our economic stature would do…..we started at Tiffany’s to use the bathroom and stood in line to be admitted to shop Luis V, to get their free water (we were parched, yo) 😝


All joking aside (sort of)……Apparently nobody has huge boobs and butts in Barcelona. I’m literally the only one. It’s fine, it saved my wallet some damage…No one should ever go shopping after eating tapas and a liter of sangria anyway. I finally had to accept the fact that all I was going to try on without feeling like I swallowed 4 Barcelonians, were sunglasses, scarves, earrings and necklaces (not that I’m complaining because I got some cute ones -I mean, look how this necklace fits!!)!!


I don’t know why I spent most of the day talking myself out of a nice treat (like a new Tumi bag that I ended up going back for -scratch that. I ditched the Tumi bag for some AMAZING clothes that I can’t wait to show you! Sneak peak here with this cape…which is totally Bad-A…annddd I’m bringing home a kelly green leather jacket -obviously what you read in the next few sentences has been cured!).


I saved hard for this trip so that I wouldn’t worry about things and be able to shop for something nice. Yet, I spent half the day justifying…..as if I didn’t deserve it. And that is simply not true. It’s ok to buy nice things on vacation. Thankful for a friend who has reminded me of that, and a frw other things!


My dinner outfit was the perfect find for a fall night in Barcelona!! Thankfully after whining about clothes, my friend found a store for me and I RACKED UP! She did too with this great sheep leather jacket!


THE BUILDINGS

Today was more of a shopping day. You can’t shop tomorrow because they are all closed for Columbus day. So tomorrow, we hit the architecture. All the buildings are so great, but I am especially excited to explore Gaudi!!!!

Leaving Marbella

Today was a sad day. We had to leave Marbella. It’s necessary to continue our adventures but it sure was hard to leave such an amazing place. There are few words to describe how incredible this place was. I almost want to call Barcelona and let them know what they are up against because the expectations right out of the gate of this trip, are very very high.


Marbella is a town that will suck you in, romance you with the amazing weather, endless perfect ocean, great food, the beautiful fragrances and relaxing atmosphere (oh the fragrance of the jasmin and orange trees! I will spend the rest of this trip trying to find that smell in a bottle to bring back with me!!). It’s easy to fall in love with it.


If only I could find a man to ignite the same feelings in me that this place did 😝 I did find my first Latin Lover of the trip. He has great muscles and an uncanny ability to never argue back 😜


As we headed out of town today, we stopped by the marina of Marbella. I’m not sure why my parents were never owners of yachts and Bentley cars in Marbella, but I’m pretty sure that they should’ve tried harder. This was clearly where I belonged. Everything was scenes I had only seen in movies. I was in complete awe. (Just kidding about trying harder, mom! You did great and I love where I’m from – look at how great I turned out without a yacht and a Bentley)


The rest of the day has been spent driving. It’s quite a long drive back to Madrid, but it’s hard to mind when the scenery is this incredible and the company is about as fun as it gets! You guys, there are MILLIONS of olive trees here. MILLIONS. Literally. I had no idea they were so prevalent here. And I would think after 3 days I wouldn’t be as fascinated by them, yet here I am about to dig through a thesaurus to try and find big, emphasizing words to make you understand what I am talking about. THEY. ARE EVERYWHERE. Sure makes eating olives out of a jar back home harder to eat!!! (These pictures from my phone are just not accurate enough -see that green…All olive trees. And they are as far as the eye can see…I swear it)

The long drive and no phone/internet service gave me lots of time to think (which is always dangerous)…..and lots of time to talk. At least 94% of the drive was used to make fun of me for various things, like the fact that I have mad cattle knowledge and can look at a cow or bull and get pretty close to their weight and how much they would sell for. I think everyone in the car unanimously agreed that it is a complete shame that I am still single with all this knowledge to share! First thing I am doing when I get back to the states is updating my dating profiles!!!!


In all seriousness, I got to share a love story. Or, in my case, a lost love story. The one that got away, if you will……but also, maybe the one that still has a chance! That’s what road tripping in Spain will do for you. It will show you amazing scenery and after getting a clear mind from the beach, you start to get a little renewed spark back in you. You think of all the things that you should be doing and how when you get back, you are going to go for it. You are going to find that yacht life and declare your love that has already lost ten years, and can’t be wasted for one more second!!!!!

To be continued……..can’t wait to see what Barcelona shows me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fancy Goes To Spain (day dos)

I was trying to paraphrase today into a simple status update for Facebook, but quickly realized that I just had too much to say for that approach.


I’m skipping ahead to document day 2 while it’s all fresh on my mind. We will save the dysfunctional travel/getting here stories for another time. Because, let’s be honest…..when you are sitting on the beach as relaxed as I am right now (as in noodle arms and can barely type), you don’t want to think about dysfunctional travel!


Today has been INCREDIBLE, y’all!!! We are in Marbella and I flipping swam in the MEDITERRANEAN ocean!!!! It was freezing, yet refreshing and exhilarating all at the same time. I might have fallen asleep so hard on the sand that I drooled on my beach towel. Just what my body needed for recovery. The ocean was like my very own epsom salt bath.

I was soaking it all in. I purposely slow my breath and my mind at the ocean. It’s the best connection and reset for me. It’s what my soul needs. Ever since my first trip after I left the abuse, the ocean has been my “plugin” or “outlet” for recharging, if you will. And it has been long overdue for a visit. I will never, ever take these visits for granted.

As poetic as I just tried to make that sound, it wouldn’t be a real Alicia day without some clumsy. There I was, enjoying the majestic that is the Mediterranean. And then I tried to get out. The beach and entry into the water here is very rocky. So, when I lost my footing trying to come out, I knew I was headed down. Down I went. On my knees. Until the waves came and knocked me on my rear. Then another wave took me under. I can only imagine what the fine people on the beach thought about the silly American getting her butt handed to her by the water. Literally.


Even with the fall, it was the most relaxing afternoon! IT IS PERFECT here! The pictures and words can’t emphasize that enough!!!


Still waiting to run into Antonio Banderas and Sean Connery 😝
Other general observations:

They have sparkly rocks here. Like they knew I was coming!! You can’t really see them in this pic well, but they do sparkle. You can see them if you ever come visit my apt though because I am bringing them back with me!!


I COULD SEE AFRICA. A girl from little Yell County, Arkansas was sitting on a beach in Spain and could see Africa. Guess what trip I am already planning for?!?! You cant see it in this pic, but it’s there in the distance, past that sailboat. Just a ferry ride away.


It did not occur to me to care that I was the fattest person on the beach. That’s not taking a jab at myself. I really was. But not once did I feel judged, or even noticed for that matter, by anyone that was there. Europeans just don’t care. And today I didn’t either. I may not come back to America based on this alone.


Sweet Tanker is even in Spain!! Monica’s mom painted this and it’s hanging at their beach house!!! I loved walking into the room and seeing this!!


I could not have gotten more lucky with the sweetest exchange family around!! So excited to have the opportunity to visit!! Their hospitality and making sure we are having the best time is unmatched!!! Forever grateful that I came across them a little over a year ago!!! I have missed this girl so much!!!! (And having a great travel friend like Barbie on the right here, has been pretty sweet too!

When the Internet Hates Me

Well…..I knew this day would come. I just didn’t know it would be this liberating to address this time around. It’s funny how much energy we give to our critics. It’s also funny to me that I have any at all. I usually truck along each day assuming that most barely notice my social media presence.

I don’t have a viral amount of followers. If you were to track my interactions statistics, you would see that I don’t get a lot of engagement, percentages wise. I’m not even good at rallying any “shares” or gaining a lot of traffic to this blog or to any of my posts. I am always shocked to run into people and have them reference a post when I didn’t even think they knew we were social media “friends”. I have my core social media group that I can always expect interaction from (and I love them dearly). So, by all accounts, one would assume that there wouldn’t be a large pool of “haters” out there, since there barely seems to be any “pay attentioners” 😝

This is where my small town naivety flashes over me like a neon sign. OF COURSE there are critics. OF COURSE there are people who find it easier to pick on someone else instead of admitting their own insecurities. OF COURSE there are people who can’t handle how comfortable and happy someone is within their own self. OF COURSE there are people who truly think they are helping you by the incredibly rude (or what they call honesty) things they are bold enough to say to you (because they assume it won’t bother you, since you are a blunt person).

I have addressed critics before (you can read that here for a refresher). Every time I address things like this out loud, I get asked “Did someone REALLY say that to you?”.  The answer is always yes (just because I choose not to air screenshots or names doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen). I try to make it a habit of not giving them too much attention in posts and such. What they say may rattle me for a second, but usually I shake it off. Plus, I don’t think any negativity or counter productiveness towards another human, deserves much attention.

But, it seems as if once a year or so, for my own cleansing and therapy, I need to address them out loud, in bulk. 😎 you see, part of my problem is that I just don’t care much anymore (as in the amount of cares I give is so little in every aspect of life, that I really need to get it under control before the only friend I have left is my dog). I personally am bathing in how good it feels to finally be at that point. Even better than that is that I care even less about those who have negative things to say to me. I cannot put emphasis on that enough in words. But if you are ever nearby, take me out for coffee and I will GLADLY make sure it’s communicated clearly in person. What leads me to a point of addressing hate towards me at all these days is when I do address it, I simply feel like I have turned off the noise.

It just builds up. Like little annoying coyotes in a field at night. You know they aren’t that close to you, but you can still hear them. They just howl on and on and when enough of them get together, even though they won’t come close to your house, they can still make enough racket to make you want to yell “OH SHUT UP ALREADY“. And that’s where I’m at.

I’m addressing the latest round of hate mail, not necessarily for myself this time, as much as for the hope that others will gain some confidence to be themselves out loud, just a little bit more boldly DESPITE any critics they are encountering.

  • In regards to my closet project: Those aren’t “real” pictures of you. They are filtered or photoshopped.
    • Response: Nope. They aren’t. They are taken “on the fly” every time with my iPhone usually and I am usually just praying that nobody zooms in on the poor resolution of them! I tried to do a couple of “work ahead” shoots with my professional camera and I simply just don’t have time. I don’t know how some of these fashionistas on Instagram do it with a full time job. So, what ya see is what ya get. Example: yesterday’s outfit post compared to this chick’s outfit posts, which are always top notch and way fancier than mine (she is local and had 84k followers, a kid and works…I am beyond lazy compared to that).  I am flattered that my awesome new line of makeup makes me look like I applied filters though!  I am happy to sell you some if you’re interested!
IMG_9751
Photo used from Instagram user themrsgibby
  • “Funny how you are always shooting from an above you angle, Alicia”
    • Response: …welllll…DUH. That’s social media pic posting 101, folks! Why is it bad for me to try and capture my best angle/look? Who voluntarily says “let me shoot from am angle that captures all my chins”? I’m a big enough girl, that an elevated angle isn’t going to make THAT much of a difference, sweets! But, just for fun, here is a straight on angle versus a pic where the person was a couple of steps above me. Yeahhhhhh, way different. I look like a completely different person. NOT!! IMG_9754
  • You can’t post only the good stuff and try to make people think you’re perfect.
    • Response: This one is just laughable and shows that either a) you don’t really follow me at all or b) you have me hidden from your feed. Anyone who knows me for more than 3 posts, knows I post it all. Yes, I try to stay on the positive or humorous side, but that’s because I feel like life is just better from that side. I try to exercise silence (yes, it happens!) versus airing negativity. I used to go on all kinds of rants back in my more immature days 😝. Plus, some things are just none of your social media business. I realize that perception is a part of it. Some may read what I post differently than I intended for it to be interpreted. That’s on me to be mindful of. But at the end of the day, I make no apologies for what I put out there and I certainly make no apologies for how you misinterpret. My give a crap meter is busted beyond repair. BUT…to humor you in regards to “real” pictures…..I gladly give you this, today’s outfit. My hair is a mess (thank Jesus for a hair appt Saturday)…I don’t particularly care for this outfit…..and it’s a straight on shot….that ought to satisfy your craving for something to talk about. Oh, AND I have gained back 5 of the 17 pounds I lost. Yep, better pour more coffee and sit back down to keep talkin.
  • You post too much.
    • Response: I am so sorry that I refuse to change that for you. This one is almost too silly to address. Honey, that’s what the delete button is for. This critic type is one of my faves because it’s almost cute at the way they think they are doing me a favor by telling me this AND not deleting me. “You post too much Alicia, but I am not going to exercise my free will to delete you. Instead, I am just going to tell you that you post too much while secretly reading every post”….lame. PLUS, believe it or not, there are people like me! Hard to believe I know. But there are a tribe of us that run around over posting, over sharing and senselessly rambling. I have provided my favorite example for comparison…my dear friend Aaron Cooper. He can ramble and post with the best of em! :p
  • And, as I do every year, let me give you out loud permission to go away. I will probably not even notice and I can assure you it hurts not one feeling to be deleted. I am not for everyone. And that’s ok! IMG_9759

That should wrap us up for another little while!

My point is this….

I am real. I am imperfect. And honestly, I am none of your business. I have fought a battle for YEARS and finally won. You are always invited along my crazy journey because I am an open sharer by nature. But, you will never get close enough with any negativity to keep me down. 

Pipe down coyotes….I have a whole big world to conquer!!IMG_3634

 

Dear Guy Who Stood Me Up Tonight…..

To the guy who stood me up today:

😎

Thank you for doing that. No, really. I mean it. It’s been a rough week. I felt better enough to shower and curl my hair a little, line my lips and “smokey my eyes” for you. It was the first time this week that I felt good about my appearance.


I wondered if you would notice my new lipstick. I mean, you wouldn’t know it was new. But maybe you would just notice a brightness to them in general. I used a new perfume. It was the perfect mix of flowery and sweet. Don’t worry, I only sprayed once. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with loud smells. I imagined which topic of convo we would start with and imagined my smile and witty comebacks in the mirror (yes grown women do that). I even played my “hot date” playlist while I was getting ready to get me in a great mood….as I blew my nose and coughed 4 million times. You know what I was most excited about? That my shoes are too big. Crazy, I know. But apparently since I have lost weight and don’t stay as swollen as much, my shoes are too big. Who would have ever thought!!


Then you were a no show.


I take dating disappointment way better than I used to. I was probably more bummed that I put all that effort into getting ready just to have to wash the makeup back off. I was worried about us being a match on a few levels anyway. You could’ve been a little bit more courteous and actually given me a head’s up that you wouldn’t make it. But you definitely aren’t the first to do that to me. For about 4.2 seconds, I actually wondered what I did to make you lose interest before our first date.


Then I got a text from a friend who needed a visit and drinks. I almost changed out of my outfit and threw my hair in a ponytail to go meet her at the pub down the road. That’s when it hit me. I decided not do either of those things. I kept it all on and met her for a bit.


 And you know what? I realized that I have fallen way too far into not giving myself any effort unless it is a potential date or advancement of some relationship (business or personal). I worked really hard to get away from that once. I cannot believe I was headed back there again.


Don’t get me wrong. I love my jammies, ponytail and makeup free face a lot. A whole lot. But what I need to love and value more are those dear to me….and myself. And both of those things deserve good makeup, good perfume, great hair and good outfits WAY MORE than some first date does.


So, I walked into that pub like I meant it. I laughed and loved on my friend. She encouraged me without even knowing I needed it. Something that would’ve never happened if I would’ve been out trying to impress you. I think I was trying to fill a void with you after being sick and pouty and lonely this week. A void that I know damn well couldn’t be filled by you.


Thank you for standing me up. Through it, I am reminded being alone doesn’t mean that I can’t be “satisfied” through genuine time with dear friends. I am realizing how truly tired of dating I really am. I am starting to see that my time and heart would be better served with so many other things I have been wanting to do…and could spend time doing if I wasn’t trying to prove to the world that there is someone decent left and someone decent who will fall in love with me. I realize how tired I am of always being the one to initiate and progress the conversation and relationship. It gets awfully quiet when you wait on someone to text you first or finally ask you out and initiate real plans. I am reminded that I can put makeup on and curl my hair on a random weekday, in between nose blowing sessions, just because I want to. I was reminded of a path I promised to never take again and can now look at my map and explore another road.


If I ever do run across you again, I will gladly by you a drink to thank you for tonight.

Swift to Hate….

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 7.43.46 AM

In light of the Kesha/Taylor Swift current events (and no I don’t want your opinions or arguments)…..I got into heated conversation with someone today (in defense of Taylor). The person was very angry, lashing out about TSwifty and calling her names, etc.  But every time I tried to ask “what could she have done differently that would’ve satisfied you in this situation”, they couldn’t provide an answer.  They would throw out more anger, a few snarky tweets at me and such, but never could answer.  Many seem to be angry at Taylor, first because she was silent in chiming in on Kesha’s situation and secondly, when she responded by donating $250,000.00.  She can’t win for losing due to a lot of toddler-like “fit throwers” out there.

Facts:
  1.  Taylor Swift has no governing authority to make any legal decisions in the Kesha case.
  2.  TAYLOR SWIFT IS NOT OBLIGATED TO DO ANYTHING….nothing.  zero.  I know, you’re ready to light me on fire for that one, but it’s the truth.  She has no obligation to do a dang thing.
  3. Every time someone spends a tweet, post, blog, whatever hating on Taylor – that is one less chance to voice support or use the energy to move toward a change in a system that is clearly flawed and needs the attention.
  4. Regardless of what you think should be done for Kesha, the fact is that she isn’t recording……therefore, it is highly likely that her finances are being affected.  I’m quite certain that Taylor’s donation will go a lot further for her than your tweets griping about her.  Taylor helps (I would hope because she has a good heart, but probably also in response to the negative pressure, sadly) and is still criticized.
I have spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about the what seems to be out of control anger.  I remember when I was put in the same situation.  I was so flipping mad, said horrible/hurtful things to the person involved and basically was short of throwing myself on the ground, kicking and screaming.  What probably infuriated me more, was that the whole time I am throwing my “fit”, the other person just calmly sits there waiting on me to finish.  When I finally stopped, she replied with “Alicia, I have heard everything you have said.  Can you tell me one thing I could’ve done that would’ve made you less or not angry?”

Silence.  Silence so much that I could’ve almost choked on my own tongue.  I couldn’t give her one solid answer.  I couldn’t think of one single thing.  Out of quick desperation, I had a few thoughts cross my mind.  But as quickly as they came into my mind, I just as quickly realized how stupid they would’ve sounded coming out of my mouth.

What that wise (and thankfully very calm-spirited) woman made me realize was that I wasn’t even mad at her.  I was mad at the situation.  I was mad at a situation that wasn’t going to be fixed immediately, by her as one person….and it certainly wasn’t going to be fixed by me being mad and tearing down someone else.

I feel like the exact same question should be posed to a lot of “haters” out there these days (yes, I’m specifically referring to the hate towards Taylor Swift in regards to Kesha – but I also mean haters in general).  Our society is so quick to attack and even quicker to attack easy targets (I happen to be an easy target based on my big mouth – but not quite on the scale of Taylor 🙂 )

WHAT IF we all paused for a minute and thought through what really angers us about the situation?  THEN, what if we actually looked at ourselves and what we could do or change (either externally or within our own self) first before we went after others?

If you have an issue with someone and you can’t answer the question of what they could do differently (legit, tangible, quantifiable actions), then you need to think twice about launching your attack.  ALSO, if you CAN answer the question, you are best served by having the mindset of helpfulness, grace, mercy and patience, NOT judgement and snarky behavior.

Stop tearing others down.  Stop speaking from that which you do not know.  Be a vessel for positive movement towards change.  Otherwise, pipe the heck down and leave others alone!

  Fatty McFaterson Is No More

I have struggled lately cause I haven’t seen any big changes recently. But I knew it was my fault for not working as hard the last few weeks. I never care about being “thin”. I just want to be healthier. I truly mean that with everything in me. And being mentally healthy is just as important. Because I can tell you that in some of these before pictures, the ugliest thing about me was the inner struggle much more than the outer appearance issues. It feels SO GOOD to be working hard again and slowing down enough to make wiser choices for myself.


When you see yourself everyday, it’s hard to notice changes when they don’t seem to come in the form of 20 pounds dropping over night. I even noticed that I was falling back into old tricks of trying ridiculous angles on my outfit pics to try and look the smallest. I did not want to do that again. It is SO IMPORTANT to me and at my core to be authentic and real. It’s who I am. So the last thing I wanted to do was start deceiving with my pics. That alone was motivation to get my butt back in gear.
But, when I came home after work today to an apt of teenagers and one who hadn’t seen me in a while made more than one comment about how different I looked, I thought I would go through old pics and make comparisons. Man, am I glad I did. To you, it may not be THAT big of a difference. To me, it’s A WORLD of difference. What is crazier to me is that these comparisons are only from October to now!
 It’s almost a completely different face – less puffy, better complexion…and do you see that happy? Oh the hurt you don’t even know about that was dwelling within me in that top 3rd pic!!!!

 

 It’s a healing difference – even though it had been a couple of months out of a break up in the before pics, there was still SO MUCH anger and hurt. I still get a little angry about it. But the new faces….those are healing faces. Those are faces that are excited about life and that have owned where she is at….determined to be a better than ever face.


Still so far to go. But still so much difference already. I will always be under construction. It’s just so nice to have a different approach to the project lately. Peace, determination, forgiveness of myself (still working on the forgiving the ex part) and the expectation that the new greatness coming, isn’t going to happen overnight…..those are the beautiful descriptions of Alicia 2.37923 😝


I recently had the opportunity to take some really hard truths given to me from a friend and go 400 steps backwards…or finally do something different. The old Alicia would’ve taken the truths spoken and dwelled, cried, ate my emotions and over analyzed for who knows how many days. I would’ve talked to a hundred others trying to get confirmation that those things couldn’t possibly be true. I would’ve decided that I might as well give up on ever being different.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.22.32 PM
Instead, I took it to the treadmill and opened a book I never finished about how successful women think differently. And it just so happened that my last bookmark from where I left off was on a segment about strengths and weaknesses. We should be aware of weaknesses within us, but we should concentrate and grow from our strengths…not from constantly trying fix a weakness. Well if that train wasn’t on time, I don’t know what was!!!
See, once again, not a big change to speak of for someone else to read…but a HUGE change for me. i would dare say that it is one of the things I am most proud of in a long time!!
So, THANK YOU for watching me change and being so willing to embrace it and for letting me be me…authentically…and now authentically smaller 🙂

Dying in Conversation

As you know from my previous couple of blogs, my precious gran is in the end stages of life. I am trying, with all my might to slow down and be present in the process. I want to cherish the last moments and observe outside of what I normally would.

Today was good. Relatively speaking.
My gran was more responsive. She was awake most of the day. She knew who we all were. She could carry on conversations. She scolded my uncle for picking on me (she always has taken up for me).  I find myself wondering if this is a boost of good because the end is more near or if we really are improving in some ways. I’m a little selfish in her good day because it gave me another chance to visit and have conversation with her.
I don’t think we enjoy simple conversation enough.  I think we sometimes feel like we have to speak so “significantly” and be full of opinions, that we forget some of the best things shared, are simple.
Today, I purposely had and soaked up plain conversations.  And even still, in the midst of this sadness, my heart is so full.  I cannot say that enough.  My heart is SO FULL.  I am amazed at how when you slow down, what you really get out of it.
 img_6671-3
I talked with my gran who even in dying, is still showing upmost kindness.  She apologizes to her nurses for having to do the unpopular work.  She says yes ma’am and no ma’am.  She doesn’t ask for anything.  But she tells you that she loves you.  She scolds my uncle for picking on me.  I watched her talk to every single visitor she has had today.  She has asked more about them than giving them the chance to check on her.  She asked great-granddaughters how their day was and never complained even when she was tired.
I soaked up her simple kindness in conversation.

 img_6670-1
I talked with my little nieces who came to visit.  I had the privilege of keeping them occupied in the spare room so we wouldn’t disturb gran and my sister could visit with her, without little hands and voices.  I learned that Oreos are very important to toddlers.  Few sounds are sweeter than the conversations between sisters as they share some Sweet-Tarts.
IMG_6672
I learned that 6 year olds know what selfies, Snapchat amd wi-fi is. Sometimes all we really need are a handful of snacks, an Oreo crumbed kiss and to hear “ricia I wub you whole bunch”
I soaked up innocence in conversation.
 img_6669
I visited with my gran’s aide (I also used to work with her as a teenager when I was an ER clerk). She has served others for 26 years.  She has always been vivacious.  She loves a good casino and shopping trip.  She just lost her husband 2 months ago and decided to keep working to stay busy.  Her dog also died this week.  She is thankful.  My gran responded the most in conversation (that I saw) with her.  Her voice is gentle.
I soaked up strength, resilience and gentle in conversation.
Today is good.  My spirit needed it.

Dying Stories

  Today was exhausting. My body just doesn’t do well in situations like this and things in general just weren’t going my way. The time with family tonight sure turned my frowns upside down. I am thankful. I mean that with every fiber of me. 

Anyway- 

1. I am soooo thankful that I made the decision to come when I did. It means so much to be able to say goodbye. Today made it clear that chance has passed so I will cherish that I made it in time. 

2. Stories. Oh my word. Anyone who knows me, knows there are plenty of Yell Co stories in my arsenal. But the ones I have heard tonight for the first time are awesome. I rarely get to spend good soul time with my uncles, and I don’t think people really share stories anymore. But to be unplugged from technology in these late nights when we can’t sleep and hear story after story has been awesome. It feels weird to say that since it has only happened because of sadness…but I Wish everyone could meet my Uncle Lewis and hear him talk. 

3. Speaking of stories, tonight we covered noodling (my fam did it way better than those tv shows), hunting, mountain lion debates, uncle don’s new addiction to FB and my most fav of all, dating. The love and respect between my aunts and uncles is so cool. Watching them tell me their love story and see them go down memory lane is beyond sweet. 

4. I have had some pretty great examples of couples love and the power of never giving up. The men in my family have set a really high bar. Probably why I am still single…because I expect what my grandparents and aunts and uncles have. Even if I stay single forever, I have still experienced great love, even if it is second hand. And that’s good enough for me!