Mi Abuelita Lucia

 Life is so fucking weird, man. Most times I can't even wrap my head around how weird and strange certain aspects of my life can be. For example, dating. You meet someone, you two connect, start a relationship and become one person. You share milestones together, learn and grow together, the time goes by and the next thing you know, you can't stand each other's presence. Weird and strange right? How about when you, out of nowhere, start thinking about someone a lot or a moment that you shared in the past and then as the days and weeks pass, you receive constant reminders from the universe in the form of advertisements, songs etc. of that person or that thing/moment that has occupied so many of your thoughts. For me, those reminders came in the form of advertisements for low fare round trips to Mexico in practically every subway station and throughout NYC.

   From the beginning of the year, I've had this strange pull inside me to visit my grandmother in Mexico. I've always been a very spiritual person (whatever that means to you) so it's like we were both connecting on a telepathic level, and just like a wave crashing over you without warning, it came over me and I was mentally set to fly out within the next few months to pay a visit to the woman who gave birth to my father. 

   Lucia Melecio is the woman who is the reason for my existence, the existence of my Mexican family and the roots to which I am so deeply, devotedly connected to, as well as completely in love with. Ever since I can remember, my father's mother and I shared this amazing loving bond that even we couldn't put into words. The love that we had for one another was always felt in the hugs and kisses she would give me. When she hugged me, I remember always inhaling deeply and taking in her beautiful scent which was a combination of sweat, fresh Mexican air, dirt, fresh cut roses and strength. I felt her love in the way she would look at me whenever I would speak to her or tell her stories of my ambitions and accomplishments; it was the same way I witnessed my sister look at her first born son when the nurse finally handed him over to her after pushing for hours. My grandmother's love was felt in the way she would cook me her authentic Mexican dishes I craved and how I could always taste the TLC she would sprinkle in them. My father's mother had the most beautiful long dark hair that to me, always seemed like the vines of a willow tree coming out and falling off from the top of her round shaped head. When it wasn't braided or in a bun, and if she let me, I could get lost in it for hours like a child running free and fearless through a field of wild flowers somewhere warm and peaceful in the middle of nowhere. Her smile, crooked and so full of life, is something I would give anything to see one last time.

My grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson's back when I was around fifteen, if my memory serves me right. She was a fighter and lived her life to the fullest right up until about a year ago when she was finally put on bed rest, after the disease she had always been able to beat slowly took over her body.  Starting at the central nervous system, Parkisons begins eating away at the precious neurons from your brain unhurriedly throughout the years, until finally it completely devours all the dopamine needed to allow your body to function, and then one day you can no longer take part in basic every day routines because your body can no longer move at all. I had known and heard she wasn't doing well but nothing could have ever prepared me for that first moment I saw her laying in that bed after four years of being apart.

The room was dark and cold. Silent. Like a scene straight out of a M. Night Shyamalan film. The walk from the door to her bed seemed like it took me an entire year to get to. I wasn't sure if she would recognize me, and if she didn't how would I ever be able to handle such an innocent-uncontrollable rejection? But my fears and anxiety were quickly put to rest when our eyes met for the first time in four years. We both had a single tear come out from our left eye. She smiled her crooked half smile, and her little molten eyes were beaming with so much love and light that it took over my soul the same way the sun takes over your perspective immediately after you open your eyes from a long night's sleep on a bright summer's day.

    I was with her for ten days. In those ten days, I was over her home everyday and I spend my long hot July summer days on her ranch, in her room, by her side. Surrounded by all my aunts, uncles and beautiful cousins, whom I can now connect with on a more sophisticated level since we are all much older, I felt a sort of calmness in me that I hadn't felt in many years. The power of happiness and that calmness took over my body the entire time I was there. I felt like a child again, with no worries or stresses. I felt so innocent and free, but over all, I felt elated to be surrounded by the people who, in those days, I realized mean the whole world to me. I never wanted to leave that moment. I never wanted to leave the country after experiencing that.

My grandmother fell into a coma the night I left (unbeknownst to me), maybe it even happened the moment I said my goodbyes and kissed her forehead. I saw her close her eyes and I remember feelings of bliss and love over taking the room as well as myself. I wasn't scared, I was sad. But it was a happy kind of sad; the kind where you feel so pacified and blessed that you made it in time but in the interim you are somber because you know you'll never live this brief period of time with this person ever again in your life.

    I remember August 2, 2016 like it was just yesterday. It was around 9 pm when my phone started making a strange ringing sound, I looked at it and saw that I was getting a Facebook call from my cousin Paulina. (Side note: Paulina is my rock of a cousin. We are very close and I love her so much as if she were a sister instead of a cousin. She recently moved to Playa Del Carmen for a job, I was unable to see her while I was with my grandmother in those ten days. I hadn't seen her since May 2014).  Seeing her calling me via Facebook seemed strange to me but I didn't think much of it. As soon as I picked up the call, I noticed it was dropped and my father's call took over my phone now. I answered it thinking I was answering my cousin but instead realized it was my dad. The next part still replays in my head like a broken record player:

Papi: " Hola mija, donde andas?"
"Hi, where are you"
Me: "Dad? en mi casa, me estaba llamando Paulina pero creo que tu llamada la corto, que pasa como estas, todo bien?".                             "Dad? I'm at home, Paulina was just calling me but I think your incoming call dropped it, whats going on? everything ok?"


Papi: "Aye Mija no se como decirte pero tu abueli-" "I'm not really sure how to tell you this but its your grandm-".
Me: "No, no. No digas eso no me lo digas, acabo de ver la"                                                                   "No, no. Don't say it, dont you dare say it, I was just with her!"
Papi: "Sorry mija pero se fue la misma noche que te fuiste, nunca desperto despues de domingo" "I'm so sorry she left us the same night you left her, she slipped into a coma that night and never woke up from it."

   I feel empty and lost. I feel like I'm having a bad dream and as much as I try to wake up from it, I can't.

Lucia Melecio Rodriguez rip

Lucia Melecio Rodriguez rip

citations part I

I love reading, its a way for me to learn and allow my soul to travel through different times and places. One of my favorite things about reading is writing down quotes that speak to me or make me think deeper about how it relates to my current life. I thought maybe instead of keeping a journal I can share them here on my blog, with you guys and maybe inspire one of you to pick up the or any book for that matter and find some quotes that speak to your soul. 

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

"I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you"
"let your life be like a snow flake, which leaves a mark but not a stain"
"when you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you've just wandered a few feet off the path, that you'll find your way back to the trail-head any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and its time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don't even know which direction the sun rises anymore" 
"il bel far niente"- Italian for "the beauty of doing nothing"
"l'arte d"arrangiarsi"- Italian for "the art of making something out of nothing"
"beauty attracts beauty"
"parla come mangi" Italian for "speak the way you eat" or "say it how you eat it"
"why are you so sure that your micromanagement of every moment in this whole world is so essential? why don't you let it be?"
"there are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all though history. How much do you love me? and whose in charge?"
"I was not rescued by a prince; I was the administrator of my own rescue"
"they say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well- the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls that acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, say the zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born."
"in the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. in the end, maybe its wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices."
"we must get our hearts broken sometimes. this is a good sign, having a broken heart. it means we have tried for something."

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

"you don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you."
"omnis cellula e cellula" (dutch?) "all cells come from cells" Every cell is born of a previous cell, which was born of a previous cell. Life comes from life. life begets, life begets, life begets..."
"some infinities are bigger than other infinities…. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for our little infinity."
"it's hard as hell to hold on to your dignity when the risen sun is too bright in your leering eyes."
"...sometimes it seems the universe wants to be noticed."
"the marks humans leave are too often scars."
"grief does not change you. It reveals you."
"as he read, i fell in love the way you fall asleep. slowly, and then all at once."
"you are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!"

***part two will be out eventually, stay tuned. 

Better late than never

So its clear that I've been neglecting the BLOG section of my website for quite some time now.

After I wrote and published my last post back in Dec 2014. I was feeling a bit down about myself. I was sucked into this black hole of feeling insecure and discouraged about what I was doing. I felt, as I scrolled down any social media platform, that everyone was progressing in some way, shape or form in their lives, while I was still where I was when I started. Along with not liking the way I looked and feeling bad about myself. I knew I had to make changes in my lifestyle and get balanced again so that I could get out of this funk. But I had no idea how or what to do.

Portrait of me shot by @rolandstoned

I know this sounds crazy and unlikely but one night in the new year or days before I had a dream. In that dream I opened my own doors, paved my own way to creative ideas and projects. In this dream, I was surrounded by amazing, inspiring people telling me that I am better than the state of mind I was in and can accomplish whatever I put my mind, heart and soul to and work hard at. ( I'm also the type of person who prays and talks/asks God for signs, so there's that too) Anyway, I knew this dream was a sign from wherever you believe. Big changes is what I spend most of my 2015 year doing. I'd like to take this time now and share the list of changes I have made.

Diet. Ever since I can remember this has been on my To Do List, New Years Resolution's List, New Task's List, you get the idea. I have been saying I will eat cleaner for a very long time. Well I am so happy and excited to let you know that I have finally made that happen. I have done so much research on diets and eating clean but I wanted something where I could still eat meat and all the foods that I really love. Then I heard about The Paleo Diet . Its been three months and my life, skin, and of course body feel like new. I can sit here and type that I feel better, stronger, have more energy and if you've seen me recently you might have commented on how flawless my skin looks. I'm not joking, I've told people I'm 27 and they think I'm lying. Needless to say I'm loving it.

Exercise. "I can eat whatever I want because I go to the gym on a daily basis" I'm embarrassed to admit that I am quoting myself here. Diet and exercise go hand in hand whether I like it or not. So NOW, after my work-outs I grab a salad or some grilled chicken and fruit. The hardest part for me about working out is getting to the gym. So once I accomplish that, I hop on the treadmill, stair-master, whatever my vice is that day and I don't get off for at least 30 mins. P.S. I became friends with squats, I do squats, I am one with the squats. I started out by taking a group exercise class that my gym provides and that helped boost my confidence at the gym.

Focus. I've learned that It's very important for me to stay focused. This year I focused on things and activities that make me happy. Focus on my family and friends. Focus on my career, hobbies, and art. Focus on ME and MY life. I don't worry about what others think or might be saying about me anymore because I've learned that, that says more about them. 

Priorities. I am a master at dreaming and making plans. Actually making them a reality and accomplishing them, not so much. I write down a list of things that I want to accomplish and that are important to me and my individual growth. I do this all the time and I've learned that these lists help me keep my priorities in order whether its at home or in my career. 

Skin-Care/Make-Up Routine. Maybe it was stress related or maybe I was just born with it but acne and blemishes on my face kept getting worse. And don't even get me started on the dark circles under my eyes. At 27 I honestly felt I shouldn't be looking like I hadn't slept in days; especially when I DO get sleep. I did research on natural skin care products and procedures and also researched what some of my favorite celebrities use in their daily routines. I discovered Aveda and use their plant based products religiously. As far as my make-up routine goes: Moisturize, fill in eye brows, curl eye lashes, and top it off with a highlighter on my check bones and little blush too. Super easy and fast. 

Kitten. I bought a cat. I know, I know. Shame on me for not rescuing but can I tell you that Seal Point Himalayans are not found in shelters very often, I looked and called many to ask. I knew the breed I wanted and color. I researched and asked friends about where they got their kittens. Long story short I found him, bought him, picked him up and I still don't know if half the time he wants to kill me or if he loves me. Regardless he is the best thing that has happened to me. We make each other happy. Life is better with a cat. 

Diego Rivera, my one year old Seal Point Himalayan

Projects/photo series. Shortly after bringing Diego Rivera home, (thats the name of my cat)one fall morning my boyfriend took a photo of Diego and I laying in bed cuddling. I posted the picture on my Instagram account and it got a lot of positive feedback. Later that week a girlfriend of mine told me how much she loved the picture and how I should think about photographing other girls and their cats. Needless to say, that is how my Power to the Pussies photo series was born (Thanks Jen). That personal project then inspired me and gave me the confidence to explore my photography even more by creating other series and asking other people to help me create my visions. You can find those in the Portfolio section of my website.

With that said,.

I reached out to new creative people. Scrolling down my Instagram feed, every photograph that I come across, it instantly inspires me. I try to keep it that way. I try to follow people that are exploring their own art and visions. I respect that and that is what inspires me to try harder and explore my own artistry. I also realized that a lot of people live around me. I email them, DM them to hang out and create. If it works out awesome, if not, no worries. Life goes on. 

Worked with said creative people. Again, Instagram has given me the capability to reach out, work with, as well as become friends with some awesome creative individuals. I participated in a few "Insta-meets" this year and look forward to future ones. If you ever see one being hosted anywhere near you, I highly recommend stepping outside your comfort zone and giving it a go. You'd be surprised to find how awesome it is to be around people as creative and fun as you. I know I was! 

Touched based with old friends. One of my best friends from high school is getting married next month. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated her Bridal/Bachelorette. I want to share with you guys the text I sent the group the day after our festivities: "Spending time with you all, even if it was for one day, made me realize how much I miss you all. Made me realize that now matter the time and distance, real and original bonds can't be broken. I felt like Saturday night was like we never even moved away and became real people. I miss you girls and love you all so much and cherish the times we spend together. Can't wait until the next time."

I spent most of this year really challenging myself in my artistry but also took the time to get myself, mind, and body more organized by loving and taking the time to listen to ME more. 2015 has been a huge learning/growing year and I look forward to continuing the lesson. 

Portrait of me shot by @rolandstoned