Thank You To The Men In My Life!

A shot out to the manly men in my life who never made it a dull moment.

PAPI:

Thank you for being the first man to ever love me. To show me what it means to be loved and respected as a girl first and then as a woman. Thank you for being a no-nonsense kind of man. You meant what you said and said what you meant. Thank you for showing me how to fish, even if you got mad when I caught bigger fish than you. Thank you for letting me be a tomboy and getting dirty.

Thank you for showing me what empathy and gentleness from a man’s hand look like. Thank you for teaching me to be proud of my name because it’s a strong name. It’s my family’s name and the name of my grandmother. Thank you for also showing me what tolerance is. Having English as a second language was hard for you because of the ignorance other people had shown you. You stood tall and I thank you for showing me that. Thank you, most importantly, for being an amazing grandfather. Your love for her is remarkable, but I’m not surprised. I love more than you’ll ever know.

STEPDAD:

To the man who taught me what a man’s man REALLY is. They don’t make ’em like you anymore. You taught me that if you get hurt, you wipe it off and keep ongoing. Thank you for that. Thank you for making me work with my hands. It showed me what I am capable of doing, but also how to take care of things when I need to. You taught me not to rely on anyone. Thank you for being tough on me. You knew I needed that upbringing. I needed that Southern, hard to the core, no time for mess upbringing.

Thank you for showing discipline. Thank you for 22 years in the Army. You fought for me. Thank you for the unwanted mansplaining about my boyfriends growing up. What can I say? You were right. Thank you for showing me where ‘sympathy’ is located in the dictionary, which is between ‘sh*t’ and ‘syphilis’. When I start feeling sorry for myself and want to mope, I would think of that then laugh. Thank you for loving kids who aren’t yours, and thank you for being a grand-grands. You allowed her to show you what a granddaughter’s love and grace can do to an old man like you. Your granddaughter loves you and your stepdaughter misses you.

BROTHER IN-LAW:

Thank you for showing me that a man can be both patient and kind as well as rough and tough. Through you, I learn how most of life’s hardest moments can be softened with laughter. Thank you for seeing me grow from age 12 to now and wanting to still be my friend. Thank you for sometimes being that soundboard and believing in me when I had goals to reach. Thank you for our relationship.

I thank you the most for loving my sister. She is my world. You raised the bar on what a husband should be. I thank you for that. Thank you for being the best father to my nephews. Because of you, they are the men they are today and I know you wouldn’t settle for less. You showed them how a man is supposed to love, treat, and talk to a woman through your relationship with my sister. Thank you for being an amazing uncle. There is no one in this world like her uncle. And now, thank you for being the best granddad to your granddaughter. You are truly one of a kind man.

IN LOVING MEMORY, bILL-MY STEPDAD

Rules For Your Daughter To Be The Fearless Woman You Hope You Have Raised.

If I could leave you with one thing it would be…

  1. 1) If you ever have doubt in yourself, just remember YOU ARE ENOUGH. No one can make you feel any less than without your permission. Not even yourself.

2) Don’t forget to PRAY. Have that conversation with God. He is there for you and he wants to always be there for you. Rather life is hard or not, lay what’s on your heart at his feet and pray.

3) Stay calm during job interviews. Smile, but not like an idiot. Wear something comfortable, but professional. DON’T CHEW GUM. Be lighthearted, easy for them to talk to, and don’t forget to breathe. Employers can see right through you!

  1. 4) When you find yourself lost in this world or in its web, you can ALWAYS COME HOME. There are times in your life you will feel lost or maybe ashamed of where you are at in life. I promise you that nothing can prevent you from coming back home.

5) NO ONE CAN PROMISE YOU THE WORLD. Only you can achieve that and hope to God you find someone along the way to be by your side.

6) LIFE IS HARD, but you can’t give up. Keep on keeping on! My granddaddy once said, “The best things in life are the hardest to get. If it comes easy, you better run the other way.”

7) If you find a shirt you like, BUY EVERY COLOR! The older you get, it gets a little harder to either find your size or shape in a shirt. Grab them all!

8) You will make friends throughout your life, but the older you get you will only have a few true friends that stuck it out with you. DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE FRIENDSHIPS. Those are the friends that will be with you ’til the end.

7) DONT FORGET TO CALL YOUR GRANDMOTHER. You are lucky to have a grandma that loves you and a relationship with her. Yes, she is aggravating. Yes, she has her ways. But she loves you. So for the sake of us both, don’t forget to call her!

8) This one is important. STAY ACTIVE in some shape or form. Rather it’s at the gym, running or hiking on trails, or if you are still doing Maui Tai. If you stay active, your body will be healthy, therefore your mind will stay strong. It will help you stay stress-free and less depress when things are not going your way.

9) The older you get, you’ll see different versions of yourself. Not only in personality, but also in style and way of thinking. Nothing wrong with that! Let your limbs grow wherever they need be, but KEEP YOUR ROOTS FIRM in the ground. Don’t lose the essence of you.

10) GO ON DATES! Have fun. Be youthful. It doesn’t have to be all about sexual things. Go to the beach, go exploring, play pool, go to a football game even if you don’t like it, try sushi. Just enjoy being young and enjoy life in every aspect.

11) I believe it’s important to experience different cultures and places so you can appreciate what you have. Learn different languages, try different foods, take lots of pictures, and embrace your surroundings. So, TRAVEL AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.

12) If and when life hits you hard, it’s ok to stay inside and cry. You don’t even have to change clothes or take a shower. Find a movie, have junk food, put your phone on silent, and just be. CRY YOUR HEART OUT my angel, but call your mom first!

13) After you cry and get some of it out, PULL YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES UP and get moving. Not saying you still can’t mope, but you don’t want to get stuck there. Hard to pull yourself out of it when you’re stuck.

14) Spend the money on a really good beautician and esthetician. It’s worth it. Consider it like going on a mini-vacation. You sit there and enjoy being pampered. And yes, those eyebrows need it. And yes, those curls will be difficult at times. INVEST IN YOURSELF!

15) GET A PET. Your dog now won’t be around forever and when he’s not I know your heart is going to break. Having a pet teaches your not only responsibilities but unconditional love. It will soften you and bring joy to your life. You will always have a friend and never be alone.

16) Never, ever forget who you are. YOU ARE MY DAUGHTER. You are strong, smart, funny, witty, loved, and unbreakable. You can have cracks, but you won’t break.

What rules would you leave for your daughter or son?

7 Things That Other Dog Owners Forgot To Tell New Dog Owners.

Just like being a new parent, it’s hard to be completely ready for your new pet. Hopefully this will come in handy!

1) YOU’RE GOING TO CRY and it’s ok. There’s a difference between wanting a new dog than actually having one, rather if it’s a puppy or not. It’s an emotional rollercoaster between the nonstop barking, the 10 pm zoomies, or them just being so darn cute after raising hell. And you are going to second guess your decision. So let it out and cry. It will all be ok.

2) THE FUR! If there is one thing I was not expecting was the fur EVERYWHERE. I found it in my bra, on my coffee cup, in my gym bag, everywhere. And yes some dogs don’t shed and some dogs shed more. That alone will drive you insane. Just invest in a really good pet cordless vacuum and stay consistent. Keyword: consistent.

3) THEIR PERSONALITIES: My pit bull-Aspen- personality can be overwhelming at times. If he was a man he would be that really cute guy that’s funny, adventurous, charming, but also a jerk. You know the type. So be prepared for the diversity in personalities. Some may be ‘an Aspen’ and others may have an old soul. I would even suggest looking online for dog personalities to help you gain a better understanding of your dog.

4) SOCIALIZING YOUR DOG: Oh man, this one is important! Pit bulls get a bad rap naturally so I made sure to socialize him early -since he was a puppy-and often by going to the dog park. He was able to be a dog and ran and play. It taught him to develop positive social behaviors around other dogs. Since he has an alpha personality, it also humbled him to realize he wasn’t the top dog. I also took him for walks on trails, my neighborhood, downtown, and even to a doggie daycare. Invest the time. They’re worth it.

5) TOYS, TOYS, AND MORE TOYS: You might as well just go ahead and invest in PetSmart. You’re going to be that dog parent that buys a toy every month. Especially if you aren’t able to be at home throughout the day, toys keep their minds busy. We want that! Busier the mind, less bored they become, less destructive they are. Toys!

6) THE FARTS: I want to prepare you for this one. I knew dogs fart, BUT what I didn’t know was how bad it was and will get with age. They can literally clear a room! It also depends on diet, age, health, etc. There also seems that some dog breeds are gassier than others as well. So be prepared for that “I’m sorry. My dog just farted” line for your guest because it’s going to happen.

7) THE BESTFRIEND: If there is anything about owning a dog that you didn’t truly prepare for it would be the unconditional love your dog will have for you. At first, you might not see it depending on how difficult the start was, but it will come. It did for me. Just know that you will not have a better friend or bond than with your dog. Make it a point to spend time with them, to understand them, make memories with them. That’s how love is formed and earned.

No matter what type of dog you decide to get or have, be patient. It would make things a lot better if you and your dog’s personalities match, just like in any relationship. But once you found ‘your dog’, enjoy the rollercoaster ride of adventures in loving that dog. Honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world.

What’s you dogs name and breed? Would you agree?

Aspen ❤

Mornings With My Mama: Cup of Coffee and Unwanted Advice

Having a typical cup of coffee had to be reinvented for my mama and I, but her Southern advice is still painfully the same!

“You just have to let it go like water on a ducks back.”

Mama

If I wanted to talk to my mama now, I would have to call her. But before I moved out of state, I would go see my mama. She would either have sweet tea or a pot of coffee ready to drink along with a ‘plate of food’ to eat. Our conversations would start with laughter, but always ended with her giving (not offering) some sort of unwanted advice.

And she never failed at delivering!

One morning while I was visiting her I was explaining how upset I got by what someone had said a few days prior. This person and I were discussing the differences in our upbringing. She was from the North and an only child. She doesn’t like sweet tea, used words like ‘pop’, and wasn’t really close with their aunts/uncles/cousins. The idea was never really pushed on her to have that type of relationship with them.

That blew my mind!

I have both a sister and a brother, and I literally have over 25 immediate aunts and uncles. Most of them I have spent summers with and saw them frequently. We have family reunions once a year on my mama’s side. And what is pop? It’s called coke all day long. And sweet tea is a must in the South. If you don’t like it, something is wrong with you as a person according to ‘Southern logic’ 😊.

I was enjoying the conversation comparing and contrasting, and laughing about our differences until she said- “I guess it’s true about you guys being slow. It’s taking us 30-minutes to have a 10-minute conversation”- came out.

Say what again?!

Now, before I continue I think it’s important to note that I am half Native American and Puerto Rican. My mother is Lumbee from NC and my father is from Puerto Rico. I’m also an Army brat. So when she made that comment, I instantly felt my Lumbee-Rican blood BOIL. As I’m telling my mama this story and what happened next…

My mama laughed, hard!

Everything just stopped and all I could do is stare at this woman. What is happening right now? Is she laughing?

” Mama! What’s so funny?! “

” Nothin’. Keep going “- now she’s just smiling.

” Mama, It’s not funny. Did you hear what I said she said? “

” Yep. ” She starts laughing again.” She’s got a point though. “

My mouth dropped. All I could think was ‘of course my mama would not only laugh, but agree with what was said.’ I started shaking my head because, at this point, I don’t even want to finish the story. I’m upset! So I walked to the kitchen to put my cup of coffee in the sink, grabbed a glass of sweet tea instead, and sat back down on the sofa. It definitely turned into a sweet tea kind-of-conversation.

” Now Metia. ” (Mee-tah) is a nickname my mama calls me.

” No mama. You didn’t even let me finish my story. How are you going to laugh and then say ‘she has a point’? “

” I know. I’m sorry. Finish your story .”

” I don’t want to now! ” At this point, I was feeling like a whiny teenager who didn’t get her way, but my mama was letting me play the part so I kept it up.

” I can’t believe you said that. She was in the wrong and she took it to the next level. She didn’t even smile or laugh after she said that, so I know she was serious. All we were talking about was the differences in upbringing and the North vs the South. Then she had to say what she said! “

At this point my mama is sitting all the way back in her chair with her long legs crossed over each other, tapping her coffee cup with her fingernails, staring at me patiently listening.

I stopped talking.

You see, at 35 yrs. old I’ve recognized that body language and that silence. We’ve had many conversations similar to this one for as long as I could remember. Sometimes it follows with the conversation being agreeable on both sides, sometimes with it turning intense, and one time with me just leaving her house-ok, maybe a couple of times with me leaving. So I waited in the awkward silence

” You done? “

” Yeah-Yes ma’am.”

” You feel better now? “

” I feel better. ”

” Can I talk now? “- This women is relentless. Playing that guilt card like a pro.

” Yes ma’am. “

” All I said is that she had a point. I didn’t say she was right. You sitting over there a huffin’ and a puffin’, getting yourself more worked up over nothin’. Sometimes Metia, you just have to let things go like water on a ducks back. “

You see, I knew what my mama meant. I have grown up on ‘Southern logic’. It’s advice that isn’t over-explained, isn’t overly complicated, and a lot of the time not direct. It can leave you pondering and asking yourself, come again?

My mama is full of advice like that. The thing about advice like that though; It always makes sense at the end and 9/10 times it’s exactly what you needed to hear. You just didn’t realize it yet. Oh, and you won’t forget it either!

” Just let it go and keep on going. You ever considered that she didn’t realize what she was sayin’? That for her a 30-minute conversation could have been a waste of time since you guys were at work compared to a 10 minute one? “

” No, I didn’t think of it like that. “

” Well, it ain’t her fault darlin’. Sounds like she just doesn’t know how to have a decent conversation. You know, with her being by herself her whole life. Ain’t her fault she’s a boring person, ” Than my mama proceeds to take a sip of her coffee.

And just like that, my mama had me laughing so hard that I forgot I was ever upset in the first place! After that, we both laughed and kept on going to the next topic of conversation. It’s never a dull moment with that woman. When you think you know what is about to be said or happen next, she turns the table on you.

I miss visiting with my mama whenever I wanted to, but I am so thankful for technology. She’s never a phone call or video chat away. I got to say that I may miss her Southern logic as well.

Leave a comment and tell me what advice did your parents give you?


4 Top Ways to ‘Escape from Reality’ Without Traveling Far.

Grab your keys, your sunglasses, your drink of choice and lets go!

1) “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. -John Muir”. Go explore the world around you. Find a trail at a state or local park and just go. I can personally tell you that there is nothing like losing track of time and escaping on a nature trail. Enjoy the the world around you the way is was intended to be. The world was created for us to discover its mysteries along with its beauty. And it literally is at the tips of your fingers.

2) “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”- Bob Marley. There is truly nothing in this world like escaping into the world of music. When you throw on your headphones and block out any and all outside noise… pure bliss. It washes that day, that week, and that months stressors away. You are sent back to a time where life was simple, you felt free, and nothing in the world mattered. Escape and relive that moment.

3) “A good weekend starts with a positive attitude and a great massage.” When the weight of the world is unbearable and you can feel it physically in your body, nothing like getting a really good massage. As a massage therapist myself, I have seen the complete difference in demeanor, attitude, and stress levels with clients after receiving a massage. Escaping with a massage is the most beneficial ‘getaway’ yet and you deserve it.

4) “Really in a mood for a long drive with no real destination”. Nothing like grabbing your keys and just going for a drive. We all have that one road that we are consciously curious about with where it goes and what’s at the end of it. Even if that road offers nothing but perfect views and a sense of wonder, what better way is there to escape than succumbing to your own curiosity. Some of my best moments start with, “I have no idea where we were, but it was gorgeous and much needed.” We all need those kind of moments.

With the uncertainties of tomorrow, it makes it harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 2020 has not failed us in the sense of it providing an on-going series of hellacious events one after another. Where you are in this world, take advantage of your surroundings. It does not have to be an all day adventure. Go and escape until you feel that weight lifted off and that deep breathe finally comes easier for you to take. Leave a comment. What’s your perfect way to escape from your reality?

When the South Came to the North and Neither of Them Smiled: a mamas advice

” Well darling, just smile. You look unpleasant when you don’t.”

“Really mama? Thanks.”

“Yep! No problem.”

Mama

My mama.

That woman can give some of the most simple yet effective advice in a ‘not a care in a world’ kind of way. She truly is a Southern woman through and through and quite honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. So when I came to her to vent about me living in Upstate New York now I “ought to of known better” as she would say.

I understand that NO ONE was prepared for 2020. I mean 2020 was not prepared for 2020. But to move to Upstate New York two and half weeks prior to ‘the world ending’ now that was bad timing.

I closed the gap in a long distance relationship, packed, and moved to Syracuse, NY from Southern Pines, NC February of this year. I jokingly say that I fell for the biggest scam of it all; I fell for love. It got me! I uprooted my 13 yr old daughter and my 2 yr old dog and we went for it!!

Moving from a world you have always known is not easy within itself, despite Covid-19 going on. We were ready and prepared months in advice for the move between flying back and forth to us (my daughter and I) having in-depth conversations and weighing our options. I was ready financially, mentally, and all in between that you possibly could be.

The one thing that I did not take into consideration was… the culture.

That took me completely off guard. I came to realize that Southern hospitality truly is an essential part of the Southern culture. Duh, I know. But I did not consider that because it was always there. It is how people live, how they interact with one anther, who they are. It is who I am as a person, a woman, as a mama myself.

Now I do have to say that most people I have met so far have been really nice and thoughtful. If I had to use a word to describe the people up here, it would be…

guarded.

Back home everyone is automictically considered family. We accept you with open arms and our trust is given right off the back…until it is not than ‘God bless you’ and you are on your way.

I noticed with the people up here, they are a little more suspicious of you and a bit guarded until they get a feel for you. They’ll invite you in their circle, but they keep their eye on you. Distrust off the bat until they like you. All of this was new and to be honest it still is after 10 months of living here.

“Well darling, just smile. You look unpleasant when you don’t.”

That was it. That was the word of advice my mama had when I called. Even after I hung up the phone I kept shaking my head. Out of all the advice she could have given, that was it? Just smile? Of course I dismissed it and went on with my week.

I’ve been working on the front yard updating the plants and flowers. I didn’t see the man walking by at first. He always walks by our home on his daily walks. Sometimes I see him and sometimes I don’t. There have been times when I have seen him, I just ignore him and kept on working. In my mind I got things to do, but that day as he was passing by me he caught my eye.

That day I looked up, said hey, and then I smiled. That smiled has turned into me meeting a man who knows way too much about plants and flowers. It’s crazy his knowledge and I love it! He has been so helpful and intriguing to talk to… and I am so thankful that I smiled!

Thanks mama. That’s what I get for doubting you. ❤