and this is what happened…

The world is my oyster and I am the chalk…

(Makes zero sense! I haven’t had enough coffee to refrain from mixing my thoughts up. So yeah, the world is my oyster and I’m gonna draw allllllllll over it. You know, as if it was a chalk board.) 

I begin this “story” with an exceptional quote some of you may or may not have heard:

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

The quote actually happens to be from an exceptional story I read yesterday on a plane home from Los Angeles. A few months ago, the first time I visited California, I found myself in the breathtakingly gorgeous town of Santa Barbara after a couple “magical” interventions from the Universe . I was hell bent on seeing an intuitive because there were answers to questions that I desperately needed and it seemed all my searching and trying to uncover the stirrings of my heart weren’t getting me anywhere. My thought process: “If I can’t figure this shit out, there has to be someone that can.” See, “trying to uncover” has been my motto once I figured out it was okay to have a voice of my own. The trick has been finding that voice despite not knowing what it sounded like, felt like or if it really even existed. I wanted explanations for why certain things happened to me, I wanted reasons why I had made certain decisions, realizations of why I had attracted certain people and situations into my life and needed a clear definition and physical manifestation of the unease in my soul and ache in my heart. After the relentless and exhaustive seeking I had done up to this point, sitting across from a “psychic” behind a red velvet curtain seemed like the most reasonable and rational way to go about getting my answers. Aquarius trait much?

I had to wait about 30 minutes before my scheduled reading, so I took the opportunity to browse the store. Smell all the essential oils? Check. Ooh and Aah over all the pretty stones and gems? Check. Sniff all the candles and acquire a headache from the olfactory overload? Check. Drink 4 cups of really kick ass tea in 15 minutes and tweak out on caffeine? Check. Have a sense of complete oneness and out of body experience as I got as close to “being in the moment” as I have ever been before? Check. Find a line of oracle cards dedicated to dogs, then see an entire shelf of things dedicated to the spirituality of dogs and make a note to myself that it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who thinks dogs know way more than they’re letting on? Check. Look to my left and see a small book and think, “I need to buy that book. It’s speaking to me”? Check.

Just as I went to pick up the book, my name was called.  I jumped a little and the book fell to the ground. With my cheeks reddening, I picked up the book and set it back on the shelf. I followed the sales associate back, my heart beating a little faster while excitement AND anxiety built; As the curtain was drawn back I expected to see what everyone sees in the movies: gypsy explosion. However, there were no crystal balls or tapestries sewn together with gold thread. No patchouli infused incense, tarot cards or new age music playing. Just a table, two chairs, a beautiful picture of a woman standing in front of a prism of light and a very large gray poodle that decided to lay under the table and sniff my legs during the hour long reading. Pretty sure it’s the same dog that was on the front of that oracle card deck.

This is not part of the story where I tell you the secrets of the Universe were revealed to me and I emerged from the small room with the red velvet curtain with super-powers or the ability to see dead people. The opposite happened actually. Everything that I had “known” or possessed a gut-feeling about was confirmed. Things that I never even thought about were brought up to get my brain thinking. Then things that I really didn’t want to discuss were thrown in the mix and everything I thought I knew went to shit. My question of “Well, what am I supposed to do? Do I choose A or B” was met with “Mercedes, you already know the answer.” Enter internal eye roll and silent “Well, what the fuck am I supposed to do with that?”. Sigh. I was now an ambiguous super-nova. Thank you psychic lady.

Little did I know, things were about to get very interesting.

[If you are just starting to follow along with this blog or need a refresher, let me take things back just a bit. Last year I fell in love with a boy. I decided, even though I had fallen in love with a boy, I was going to accept a job in Guam and move 7,500 miles away to write my book and see shit, while still trying to maintain a relationship. How in the hell do you maintain a 7,500 mile long distance relationship? Uh, you don’t.  4 months after leaving to go fulfill some dreams, I came back for a number of reasons that are irrelevant to the story. Relationship between said boy and I didn’t end up working out and I broke it off shortly before visiting California.]

A few days after my reading in Santa Barbara, I sat on a little white couch in a bedroom, in a house that overlooked the ocean. Pandora was playing some acoustic station, I was studying someone else’s “vision board” and it was another one of those “in-the-moment-out-of-body-experiences”. The opening strums of Dream a little dream of me floated through the speaker of my phone, my entire body burst out in chill bumps and I started to cry. They say “when you know, you know” and I fucking knew. I was pregnant.

I had always day dreamed about picking my daughter up in her super-soft pale pink blanket, holding her to my chest and gently singing, “Stars shining bright above you, night breezes seem to whisper, I love you. Birds singin’ in the sycamore tree, dream a little dream of me”. As those melodic words filled the room of reality and I continued to spew tears, the world as I knew it completely…halted. It felt like a punch in the stomach or the hardest slap in the face, maybe a combination of both. For just a few weeks ago, I had decided to end my relationship and move to California. One of the reasons for me even sitting on that damn white couch in the first place was to figure out where I was going to live and where I was going to work once I bought my plane ticket. And now, the eve before Easter, I felt like Mary and the immaculate conception 2.0. Mechanically I knew how I wound up pregnant, but situation-ally I was screaming, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” 

“Do you know for sure?” my friend asked. “Well, in Santa Barbara I was already a week late. Can you give me any other explanation why my boobs are literally trying to murder me, I’m eating like a professional fat kid and want to puke about 7.3 seconds? I need to get a pregnancy test.”  I would be lying if I said I went about the rest of the day like a normal person who isn’t plagued with the thoughts of her hopes and dreams going up in flames while she watches it from her old and tattered couch in her small and rented out trailer – Yup. I quickly transported my future-self to a Louisiana trailer park complete with shitty decorum. I refuse to hold back the utter fear and despair I felt that day not knowing what the fuck was about to happen.

That night, I stared at the little pink box that was to decide my fate. I read on the internet that the best time to take a pregnancy test is as soon as you get up in the morning, so I decided to wait. I slowly put on pajamas, looked in the mirror and placed my hands on my stomach and thought, “Well, I guess I better enjoy this view for the last time.” I climbed into bed and dreamed about looking through pink quartz. I awoke at 4:00 a.m., pulled the packaging off the test with my teeth and peed. Before I could even put the cap back on and place it on the counter for the 2 minute waiting period indicated on the instructions, the lines were loud and clear: You, my dear, are definitely pregnant.

And suddenly, there was a shift. I was happy. I had a purpose. Nothing that happened prior to that point mattered anymore because I was having a baby. Then things shifted again and I became insanely protective thinking about the not-so-nice and alcohol induced argument my ex and I got involved in before I left for California which resulted in me saying, “I never thought I’d be one of those girls that was with one of those guys who would get violent.” I had no desire to go back to someone that could possibly push me around while he went on an anger infused drunken rage, even if part of him was now growing inside of me. 

A day before I got on a plane to come home, emotional and hormonally charged me called emotional him and told him I was pregnant and that I hated him and was moving to California and there was nothing he could do about it. Yes, a very smart and well thought out way to ask someone to pick you up from the airport. Let me tell you, most awkward pick-up from baggage claim. Ever. You see, we were still living together. You know, the whole “we’re broken up and sleeping in separate rooms until one of us moves out” thing. So now I had to go back to that situation. Pregnant. And him with one objective: to win me back.

I held out for like a week. Barely speaking, complaining about how shitty I was feeling and trying my best not to ask him to pick me up a 50 gallon drum of strawberries on his way home from work because that’s all I wanted to eat. Well, a funny thing happens when you and someone else co-create another life. There’s all these things like hormones and weird chemicals and crazy stuff that’s happening to your body that when the person you were once madly in love with says, “You’re really going to take my child away from me? Think about how you grew up. Don’t you think we owe it to our child to make this thing work?”, you actually stop to answer those questions. Despite all signs pointing to “NO! STOP!”, you say, “Okay. I have this un-explainable bond with you now and you’re right. I don’t want my kid growing up like me so I’ll stay with you even though I was outrageously un-happy and this relationship was never anything close to healthy. Yup; SIGN. ME. UP. A kid is going to fix all of our problems.” 

I won’t lie to you. I really wanted to make things work. I was being given a chance to have my own family, something that I thought my endometriosis would prevent me from doing. There was this window being opened and the rustling sound of the wind coming through that window saying, “Here’s your chance to do it differently. To create something on your terms. To experience unconditional love.” I ignored all the other facts and focused solely on the fairy-tale notion building up like cotton-candy in my head.

My first ultra-sound was scheduled for a Friday. I was far-enough along that I should be able to hear the heartbeat. With all the research I had done, I even knew what range the heartbeat should have fallen in. As the ultra-sound technician took us both back she said, “Do you have an empty bladder?” as I took a huge swig of water. I swallowed and replied, “Uh, no. I thought I needed to come in with a full one.” She pointed me to the bathroom and said she’d meet me in the exam room once I was finished. My stomach dropped when I realized I was spotting but my fears quickly dissipated as I saw the little fluttering of a heart on the screen. I started to cry. Then the technician said, “Looks like you’re going to have one heck of a Christmas present. Your due date is December 25th.” This was really real and it was really happening. We were then taken back to the Drs office and I asked him about the spotting and said that I was concerned about the heart rate being lower than what I had anticipated and researched. “Everything looks normal, you have nothing to worry about Mercedes.”

24 hours later as I laid on the bathroom floor in the worst pain of my life, about to lose my baby, I no longer wanted to know the answers. When the bleeding and cramping began a few hours after the first ultra-sound picture was taken, I knew what was about to go down. I bargained with the Universe between trips to the bathroom and refused to take any pain medicine because I wanted to “feel” everything. As I stared at the small ball of tissue that once contained a beating heart and entire DNA make-up that should have been cuddled-up in a pink-blanket, on my chest while I sang sweet words, my heart broke for the first time in my life. There are no words to describe already loving something so small and it captivating every part of your life only to have divine timing step in and say “time’s up”. 

It took me a few weeks and several bottles of red wine to move through the initial loss phase. I wanted everyone to stay the fuck away from me and everything angered me. Babies became unbearable to look at and I broke down in tears every time I saw the word strawberry or the color red. I purged my soul out and literally became and empty vessel full of pain and confusion. It was torture getting up, most days I didn’t. 

Then the work began. For the first time in months, I picked up my journal and I wrote. A few sentences at first. It felt foreign. I had to literally force myself to get anything down at times. I wanted so desperately to hold on to the pain and sadness, it was the only thing keeping me alive it seemed. Then I realized I wasn’t inching myself out of a hole, I was actually digging a deeper one and if I didn’t do anything about it, I wasn’t going to get out. 

So, I took on a spiritual coach. I started to re-program myself on how to live, how to breathe, how to pay attention to my body and my heart and had someone I could be honest with that possessed the tools to help me do what my heart has wanted all along – to find my voice. Not the voice that is conditioned on another person or is calibrated based upon any other belief or opinion other than my own, but the voice that is spoken by moving through life and experiencing everything that I have allowed to enter my reality. Knowing that everything that comes in is here for my growth and not to work against me. Knowing that happiness is not a destination but a continual journey that I alone can choose to walk. It is not dependent on circumstances going on around me, the money I have in my bank account or if I have a child. It is not a ring on my finger with a promise to another person or even having somebody to make promises to. Although, let’s face it, having someone to love is awesome. It’s the voice that vibrates from that place right in the middle of your chest and a little to the left. It’s the voice that only you can hear and articulate. It’s your knowing regardless of what anybody else thinks you should do and it’s where you can always go to get the answers. Some days, you can’t hear it. Some days, you want to tell it to shut the fuck up. Some days, you wonder if it has laryngitis. Some days, it hums a long beautifully. Some days, it knows French and you don’t.

I started this story off with a quote I read in The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo a book I highly recommend. The same book I dropped on the floor before I had my reading. The same book I ran across right before my flight home yesterday. The same book I balled my eyes out reading because, “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” – The Alchemist. As I looked at my sun-kissed skin and out the window at the double rainbow shooting out at one of the clouds below, everything around me becomes better because I am better.

I truly believe that when you really want something, the Universe works with you. How else can I explain everything that has happened thus far. In order to know what you want, you have to experience what you don’t want. Well, I never wanted a boring life…I’ve never been able to say I’ve had one. I also can say that I want a truly exceptional life full of creativity, radiance, abundance, inspiration, magic, authenticity and to feel god damn sexy as often as I can. I can’t expect to experience those things without some heartache, face-palm moments and the universe sending me “equalizers”.

When you focus your intention on your heart’s true desires, it has to come to fruition. It wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t meant to actualize. Do you know how many forms it could possibly manifest in?? Be OPEN.  That’s my intention. To openly follow the voice of my heart and see where it leads me. 

I got much more from sitting behind that red-velvet curtain than I bargained for. For what seemed like the first time in my life, I was forced to go inward instead of outward and discovered so much by going where my heart lead me. I may not be welcoming a physical presence of another life on Christmas Day, however, I am forever grateful for her coming in and out of my life so fast to wake me up to all that is here right now.

I just want a damn muffin…

And a whole pizza. And a soft pretzel with cheese (easy on the large clumps of salt). And moist pumpkin bread. And my grandmother’s gooey butter cake. And bud light, and I don’t even like bud light.

Why do I want all these things right now? Why do I feel like I could scratch someone’s eyes out if I could only get to them?

I’ll tell you in just a second after I warn you that this post contains things that little girls made of spice do not talk about. But since I am no longer a girl in a frilly dress pretending she doesn’t like to get dirty to impress her friends…the shits gonna hit the fan.

Well, two days ago I found out I have celiac disease. For those of you unfamiliar with the term…it basically means an allergic reaction and intolerance to gluten. gluten=no bueno. I don’t know the Spanish word for Armageddon wreaking havoc on the body, but I’m sure you get the picture.

I always knew I had a sensitivity to wheat…and dairy. But I just always thought that they were the little annoying things that I just had to deal with in life. You know, the little interruptions all of us have. Like road rage, or eating those fluorescent kitchen sponges because you like the taste of them or collecting cat toys because you can’t stop.

I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome in my early twenties, endometriosis a couple years after that and no matter what I did, I’d still spend my days either shitting out food in liquid form, or baring down and praying to the poop Gods to give me a break for once.

When I was little it was mostly diarrhea all the time. I thought it was normal. But then again, I didn’t have the habit of going around talking about the consistency of my poop. Unless it was, on rare occasion, solid and green and I would run into my sisters room and exclaim in jovial and curious song that “my green is poop!” I tend to have a touch of dyslexia when I’m excited.

And of course, being raised by my father and sharing my childhood with two younger sisters and 3 female cousins who I spent most of my days with, fart jokes became a norm at family functions.

But actually talking about “being regular” and what regular even meant…no way. Soon enough, having a stomach ache every day or feeling those all familiar intestinal cramps everyday were just my reminder that “hey beautiful, you’re still breathing!” Gee, thanks body. Good lookin’ out.

And then when the endometriosis got really bad, suddenly everything that seemed to flow like hot lava out of my ass, hardened into painful piles of shit that camped out in my intestines, which I found no release from.

Didn’t matter the medications I was put on, nothing ever changed. That’s because the food that I thought was nourishing my body, was really only slowly poisoning me and getting me highly addicted. Like a crack fiend, sniffing out his next hit, I’d get a craving for wheat and bam! Glorious, doughy heaven for about 10 minutes and then sicker than hell for a few days after. How did I never tie that together? I just used to think I had horrible luck and got food poisoning all the damn time.

Debilitating Depression that turned into fits of anxiety, bouts of insomnia which turned into me getting addicted to sleeping pills for 2 years, stomach pains that I only found relief from by popping pain killers for about 6 months, then popping pain killers and anxiety medicine for another year to numb the emotional upheaval and downward spiral I felt. Oh yeah, I was the picture of glimmering health.

So what’s going on now…

Day 1: I felt airy, free and like breath had been breathed back into my lungs.

Day 2: no longer airy, a bubbly gut and a head that’s thinking, “something missing. Must find what” Yes, like Cookie Monster.

Day 3 of zero gluten in my system: I might die. My boyfriend woke me from my sleep early this morning because the entire bed was soaked in sweat. I spent the day holed up at fortune teller bar with a gluten free cider beer trying to write away the cravings and the imminent death my body seemed to be barreling towards. I instructed the bartender that if I order anything that is not the squash and cauliflower soup or meat plate, to berate me in front of everyone and send me back to my writing hole. I thought if I stayed out of the house, which is teeming with gluten, like the apple cinnamon sausage I made Steve this morning, I would be ok.

I am proud to say I didn’t cave. However, I think at one point I may have started scratching my arm, hoping that pizza rolls would appear. After I walked home from my hideout, I passed the fuck out. (Not because of the alcohol, I only had one) sheer exhaustion took a hold of me and I could barely crawl into bed before my body just gave out. But sleep well I did not. Oh no, I was half awake, half asleep and dreaming of pushing a shopping cart down the aisles of a gluten ONLY grocery store. So then I woke up and started writing this post because OH MY HOLY CHEESE DANISHES this is awful and it has to be told.

My nutritionist says it’s all normal. In a week or so, apparently my body will have kicked the wheat habit and I’ll never look back. My eyes are shifting cautiously from left to right as I type this…paranoia is setting in.

Keep me in your thoughts brothers and sisters.

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King Me

Love is like a game of chess. I don’t even really like to use the word game, because let’s face it. Love is the most terribly painful thing we will ever experience and is anything but a “game”. Where there is love, somewhere, behind someone’s closed-door, there will be betrayal, abandonment, resentment, ego-trips, loss, grief and all the other just plain shitty shit shit that can happen in a relationship. Some of us will be lucky enough to never experience it, but then again, most of will inevitably have our hearts ripped out in one way or another. But where there is all that murky darkness, there is also the warmth of acceptance, loyalty, security, safety, consciousness, abundance and sheer happiness. Along with all the other fluffy words related to loooooove.

Every story is different. The players are different, the circumstances are different. Highly confident Miss Scarlet could be getting with super reserved Mr. Green and Colonel Mustard could be completely addicted to Sgt. Mother Fucking Pepper and even though one twosome may be way better at conflict resolution and the other may be really good at putting on a show when they are out in public, I don’t think it makes anyone love anyone less or any more than any other person. I think that when two people come together, they each come with their strengths, weaknesses and oodles of life experience. They literally are only doing the best the possibly can with what they have.

I’ve never played chess before, but I know that there’s a strategy involved. Little dudes run around the board sacrificing themselves for their bigger counterparts, The Queen tries to remain the main bitch, I have no idea where the King comes into the mix and people get really serious about it that they go and join a club and spend hours of their days playing an extremely confusing version of checkers. I much prefer the simple checkers over having to strategize my next 14 moves but that’s just me. Anything having to do with math and I’m out….?

All relationships are not the same. Should you go into every relationship with the same mentality as everyone else and use the same 10 step program to finding and keeping that person the center of your world and then add 5 more steps to ensure you stay the center of theirs? In a phrase. FUCK NO.

So that’s why there is no certain advice column, or book or 7 ways to a successful relationship that is going to land your said successful relationship. How do I know this? Because I’ve fucking tried just about everything.  I’m 28 and I know this…Love is the only fucking reason we are alive and with love alone can we figure out why our sack of bones and star dust reside on this planet and how on earth to be someone worth being in a relationship with. Some of us are just waaaaay better than others at “choosing” love over fear. Because when you think about it, all that dark stuff I was talking about earlier stems from fear.  We all have darkness in us and it will manifest differently in each of us.

I’m gonna be really honest with you right now, I’m a jumbled fucking mess. Hormonally and cyclically speaking, I’m one estrogen spike away from a total meltdown. But damnit if I don’t do some of my most honest writing when my femininity is “peaking”.

Man, I just believe in love. I believe that love is hard and it doesn’t always work out. I don’t believe the people who have told me love isn’t hard and it will always work out if two people want it bad enough. I believe that shit falls apart so more shit can fall apart so eventually you can build something really awesome. I believe that relationships are teachers and we test our boundaries, loyalties and souls to the brink every time we’re in one. I believe that love should be calm, I believe love should be reckless, I believe love should be nauseating, I believe love should be steady, I believe love should be safe, I believe love should be dangerous, I believe love should take chances, I believe love should make you cry, I believe that love should break you. I believe love should be crashing waves. I believe love should be a gentle breeze. I believe love should be a grand ballroom. I believe love should be a tiny shack in the slums. I believe love should cause laughter. I believe love should cause you to shout in anger. I believe love should open you up and cause your raw wounds to bleed and bleed and bleed. I believe love should be a little more synchronistic and a little less strategic. And I believe love should always remind you who the fuck you are and what you ultimately desire in this lifetime because it is your brand of love. Not one that someone else says you “should” have.

Let me ask YOU some questions…

So, early on in the imphancy of this blog, I got into the habit of going to random bars and interviewing people. It was suuuuuper fun. I’d order a blue moon, take a shot of Patron and just start plucking people from the crowd. It’s crazy the things that people will divulge when they are in a non-threatening environment. Mostly, I asked questions about relationships and dating. Actually, that’s all I asked.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a huge tug to get back to that. I feel like I did my best writing when I was interacting with people and writing about different perspectives. So, for at least the month of January, I’m gonna don my yellow notepad and a ear to listen.

I’ve got a really great interview coming up…enter really attractive nude dancer. She has agreed to let me sit next to her with my yellow note pad and ask her all the questions people would love to ask a nude dancer. You know, the stuff you always wonder about but would look like a total asshole if you went up to a random person and started asking them…I’m pretty excited, she’s pretty excited, and I think it will be a great interview for the readers of I Took Her Advice to get some insight on. And special thanks to Ben at Rosalita’s, Katie, Mary and Elaina for helping come up with some stellar questions.

There’s so many stereotypes and judgements when it comes to “strippers”…so let’s explore some of them and get to know the human being being the stilettos and glitter.

It is what it is

This past summer, I had a bit of a situation…

Doctor: “Your blood work and culture all came back negative. Your pap came back positive. We need you to come back in for further testing.”

Me: “Ummmm, ok. What exactly does that mean? Positive for ….”

Doctor: “Abnormal cells.”

I’ve never experienced a moment of terror and calm at the same time. WEIRDEST shit ever. I hung up the phone. Stared at the carpet floor in my office. Noticed I bit two nails clear off while I was talking to the doctor. I grabbed my cell phone and sent a text to my best friend.

Me: I just got a call from my doctor. My pap came back positive for abnormal cells.
BFF: (freak out and mom mode prose)
Me: On the bright side… I don’t have any stds.
BFF: Oh BFF, You just made me spit my water out…Until you know the next step, pretend you didn’t get the call. Life can change in an instant.
Me: It is what it is, right?
BFF: I’m totally not sure, us women never really talk about shit like this.

I cried a total of 5 times that day. Not ugly, sobbing, Marley and Me cry. The kind of cry that creeps up on you when you remember reading the story about the little boy who had cancer and inspired an entire town and then died. It was terrible. It was terrible because I didn’t fucking know what to do, how to feel, or what was going on. I could be perfectly fine, or something could be wrong. The logical, sensible and un-emotional part of me was saying, “God Mercedes, stop being so dramatic. Be in the moment. As far as you know, you’re fine.” You know, the un-compassionate, rub-some-dirt-on-it, self-talk that I’ve perfected. The emotional side of me wanted to start hyperventilating, Googling the shit out of “abnormal vagina cells” and go home and hide in bed until my next doctor’s appointment. And then my inner dialogue took over…

Me: “Well, I might as well get a dog. I read somewhere that dogs can prevent cancer.”
Me: “This is going to completely fuck up my life…”
Me: “If only Brandi started hawking GMO free and organic living on FB sooner.”
Me: “My stomach hurts. I think I might throw up. What if they got the samples mixed up? That happened to my friend and for like 4 days she thought she was pregnant.”
Me: “Maybe I should call and make sure. Stop it. Stop all of this. Just breathe.”

So I did. Aside from my boyfriend, I didn’t tell anyone else about the call. I went on with my day as if there was no chance in hell alien cells could be growing inside my girl parts. I went home, put on comfy clothes, laid in bed and watched 5 episodes of True Blood. And then I tried to sleep. Ha.

I felt alone. I felt scared. I felt tired. I felt like reaching my arms out and grasping something, anything. I sat there in my fear and I tried to pretend it wasn’t there. That didn’t work out so well. I threw up. My body felt like it was one huge charlie horse. And then I just let go. Maybe it was the lavender essential oil I rubbed all over my body or maybe my emotions had enough and just gave in, but I took a deep breath, hugged my pillow tight and sat with the fear.

When I woke up in the morning, I recalled what my BFF had said in her text:”…us women never really talk about shit like this”. 

It got me thinking, what are we all so afraid of? Why do we beat ourselves up over experiencing fear, why do we shut ourselves out from comfort? Why can’t we just talk about the hard stuff? Why do I automatically always want to pretend things are ok when they aren’t and if by chance I do get “vulnerable” with someone I shrug it off with the “it is what it is” bullshit. Shouldn’t I just cry in front of friend and say, “fuck, I’m scared I have cancer and might die.”

I always had in my mind that if it was in the stars for me to have cancer grow in my body, I’d handle it with grace. I wasn’t really afraid of dying, maybe because I never really put that much thought into it. I figured I’d be at peace and know that whatever was happening was for a reason and that there would be no use in getting upset. That was until I sat on my aunts porch after her first chemo treatment and she said she was almost positive she couldn’t do another round and that she told God she was sorry but she didn’t have the strength, it was way too hard. Then I watched as my two cousins bodies writhed with anger, sadness and fear as they heard their mother confess that she just wanted to die. Talk about a life altering and sobering moment. I don’t think I breathed for two minutes. For some reason, as we all sat there in silence, I thought about when she came to visit me in the hospital after I tried committing suicide. That’s when I found out about her cancer. That woman looked at me with a big smile, hugged me and just sat next to me for two hours. There was no judgment, no asking me why…just love.

In this moment I couldn’t smile. The only thing I could do was hug her and my cousins and watch the tears well up in everyone’s eyes. I drove away that day feeling their pain, their fear and asking whatever celestial presence was out there to give her the strength to see this out.

Well, because of love, my aunt is still here. She gets to hold her two granddaughters, kiss her three daughters and fall asleep next to the man she loves every night.

Thanks to my vagina actin’ all weird on me and my aunts recent bout with cancer, I have a new appreciation for vulnerability even when it’s wildly uncomfortable and allowing myself to be real, raw and scared out of my fucking mind and not be afraid to let someone know. Because life isn’t about pretending to hold everything together when you’re falling apart. It’s having the strength to fall apart and then rising as a better version of yourself when all is said and done.

PS I don’t have cancer, but a lot of other people do…support cancer research and smile at strangers. You never know if they or someone they love just got terrible news.

Calendar Gurl

I thoroughly SUCK at blogging while things are transpiring. I don’t know if that can be chalked up to me figuring out my writing style or if it’s something that I need to work on. Regardless, it’s almost the New Year and holy almond encrusted cheese balls was I busy in 2013.

January- Moved from CWE to Soulard. Finally found my perfect 1 bedroom apartment complete with a real brick wall, tall ceilings, tall windows and walking distance to cool places…bars. Also started re-dating someone I tried dating a few months back. Face palm. Still worked my second job serving at a swanky wine bar/restaurant. Realized there’s a difference between wine enthusiasts and wine snobs. Wine snobs cause me to set up my video camera, drink wine out of bottles  (ya know, to upstage their hoity toity wine snobbery) and then proceed to vent vehemently about how I wish I was shitty enough of a person to knock their wine into their oversized louis vuitton. Bitches.

February-  Realized I hated my job. The career one. Where I peddled paperwork and drafted documents and organized files and did legal research and fixed traffic tickets and pretended that what I spent 40 hours a week doing was somehow the logical and responsible thing to be doing with my life. Became angry at myself for spending 6+ years doing this shit. Tried inventing the next multi-million dollar idea over popcorn vodka and ginger beer. Lasted 5 minutes, realized my talents lie elsewhere. Drank with friends at the bar to dull the emptiness I felt when I had free time. Barely wrote.

March- Took a sharpie to my living room wall and wrote I was going overseas before the year was through even though I had no idea how I was going to get there, what I’d be doing or where I’d suddenly come up with the money to leave my responsibilities behind  and become a traveling gypsy after I called into work one day to lay on my living room floor to cry, masturbate and figure out how the fuck I was going to catapult my life from soul killing and un-satisfying to what I deeply wanted. Quit serving wine to wine snobs and instead got behind a bar and started slinging everything but wine.

April- Worked 60 to 70 hours a week to save for impending jumping of ship and giving the US of A the middle finger. Met weird ginger door man who walked funny, at the bar I worked at – thought “he’s an asshole”. Somehow we ended up at same house party, I saw his gay-ass baby angel wings he has tattooed on his back. A couple of weeks later we were hanging-out eating pizza and drinking “hipster” beer and I was boastfully telling him how 1. I don’t have the time for a boyfriend. 2. Won’t be in the same county as him by the end of the year so it’s no use trying 3. Don’t really have the desire to date but I would be ok with occasionally making out as long as it’s at least 100 feet away from co-workers (Nothin’ but sophistication, ya’ll) Cooked for weird ginger to say “I’m sorry” for acting like a brat after “just three more songs” turned into 8 hours of karaoke.

May- Full fledged dating weird ginger. Becoming increasingly restless in “career”. Wanting to just quit and become a bartender until I figured out where I was gonna go.

June- Applied for resort position in….GUAM. Got said position. Informed weird ginger I would be leaving for 8 months…on his birthday.  Face palm #2.

July- Work. Work. Ginger. Work. Ginger. Blooooooggggggggeed.

August- Worked little tail off…then quit career. Ginger. Blogged.

September- Said goodbye to everything. Got on a plane and landed on an island.

October- Island life. Glorified life-guard, babysitter and court jester for asian tourists. Got killer tan. Learned how to windsurf, arch and sail; saved rhino beetle from imminent death, met wonderful people and had the best damn time of my life. Someone got drunk and wrecked my car back in St. louis. Investigation ensued. Realized long-distance relationships weren’t for me.

November- I had to make a decision to come home or stay on the island. Made right decision.

December- Read many books. Spent hours upon hours listening to myself and reconfiguring the ins and outs of my life. Started outlining book. Finally had the time to study my many passions. Got two part time jobs.

A few days ago I received an email from a firm my old firm use to work with. They had heard I was home early and wanted to know if I was looking for a job. Proceeded to offer me a job. Logical and responsible Mercedes kicked in and said, “If you don’t do it full-time, you could make it work. The money would be good and guaranteed every week.” Ginger boyfriend pointed out that logical and responsible Mercedes was miserable, unhappy and not very fun to be around and that when logical and responsible Mercedes makes decisions, she usually regrets them. “If you take it, that’s 25 hours a week you won’t get to write, paint and do what it is you love to do. Who gives a fuck about the money.”

Free-spirited, unapologetic and true to herself Mercedes thought, “My bartending gig and wine-hawking gig make it easy to go to work. It doesn’t stress me out, I get to meet all kinds of different people, smile and talk about interesting things.  I don’t have to sit at a desk all day and compete in office politics, I get paid to be social and informative and I have all the other hours to do my creative stuff because I’m not completely worn out from all the damn energy being sucked out of me because I hate what I do for a living.”  Then one of my besties said, “First gut instinct: don’t take it.”

So, I didn’t take the law job.

I have a choice when it comes to my happiness and money and a certain lifestyle just isn’t important to me as it is to others. I told my dad on the phone, “You know, I’m sure there are tons of people who would love to be contacted out of the blue and offered a steady job without even looking for it. And would have taken it in a heartbeat. Maybe I should feel guilty for not taking it for the sake of others, but I don’t. I just feel like my sanity, my emotional well-being, hell, even my life depends on my living my life on MY terms.”

I may no longer be able to afford a shiny white (wrecked as fuck – but getting fixed) Lexus and to go out whenever I want and order scallops and invest in the frivolous things in life…but I am so ok with that. I would rather live simply and happy, than stressed out because I hate my job and hate the things I thought I needed because of how much it costs me to have those things in turn robbing me of my creative energy and love to give to others.

2013 was a BIG year. Maybe the biggest thus far. I guess we’ll wait and see what 2014 has in store. But now I feel like I can actually give concrete advice to others about living authentically and doing what it is your soul longs for…and maybe even coming up with a game plan to get there. Cuz let’s face it, I turned my shit upside down and inside out the past couple years to do just that.

Peace, love and chai tea

Everything is better with yellow flippers

Everything is better with yellow flippers

I hope I lose some readers…

Last night, I got into a facebook debate with a couple of friends regarding who was more attractive out of the two following actresses: Olivia Munn and Rachel McAdams.

You all know I am a woman. The two friends I was talking with were also women. I’m sure women talking about how attractive other women are is no new concept to most of you. Girl crushes happen, oh well.

One friend said that Olivia Munn was too “masculine” for her liking, the other two disagreed. The thread took a turn to one friend saying that if she was a lesbian, she’d be a lipstick lesbian. The other friend made a comment about one of us being more attracted to “dyke” type of women. Then I said, “You love who you love, you’re attracted to who you’re attracted to. Gay or straight, it doesn’t matter.” Then the end of the thread ended with one of the women saying, “I love how we’re all different”.

I thought about it the rest of the night. I woke up a few times in the middle of slumber because I knew I needed to write a post about this, but I’m not going to lie…it brought up a lot of anxiety. About 4 a.m. I had the most horrific stomach cramps thinking about what if x person saw the post. There’s a good 20% of my Facebook “friends” that think homosexuality is a “sin”. I have family members that I’m sure have clicked on my blog and read things they don’t like and if I were to write a post on my view on homosexuality…well, being an empath, I’d pick up their opinion of me well before they had a chance to tell me about it. And then this morning as I was taking a shower, I thought what would happen if someone got mad at me for saying what I’m about to say.

Inner dialogue went like this:

“What’s the worst that could happen? Well, they could delete me off Facebook. Or stop following my blog. Or continue to judge me based on my beliefs….Mercedes, why the fuck do you care? I care, because I do. Yeah, I’m admitting it. I want my dad to be proud of me and tell other people that he has a daughter who stands up for the things she believes in and follows her heart no matter what anyone says when I come up in conversation. I want him to see that his little girl who used to write stories about alien baseballs falling from space and beautiful flowing poetry and “I’m sorry” letters is now a woman with a purpose that just wants to make the world a better place. To bring love and hope where strict religion and feelings of judgement and un-acceptance boiled to the brim. I want the things I write about to help people. I want someone to mistakenly come across my blog and see themselves differently. To slough off the idea that they are not good enough and that’s it incredibly possible  to be a real fucking human being, mistakes and all, and still be the most magnificent thing on this planet. If I, out of all people, can somehow connect with the “light”, be the “light” (most days) and still want more and to do more and to be more and see more beauty…then fuck, I’m onto something……..pause…….Well then, since you’ve realized that the worst that could happen is someone having an opinion you really don’t need to concern yourself with, what’s the best thing that could happen? I fulfill my purpose. The people who are meant to see it will and the people who will get pissed off will do just that. But I make an impact regardless.” Then I washed my hair for the third time because I kept forgetting whether or not I did it already.

So world. A person loves who they love. Male, female, it does not fucking matter.  A person is a person. They have a heart that beats just like yours and are capable of all the same emotions that rest inside of you. Who they choose to give their heart to or marry or spend the rest of their life in a committed relationship with or sleep with or date for two months is none of your business; Unless you want to celebrate the fact that they make your life that much better by seeing them happy. Because you know what, it is not up to you to dictate what makes another person happy. It is not up to you to tell someone a feeling they have is wrong. It IS your responsibility to act like a decent human being and treat other people with respect. Just because it doesn’t work for you sure as hell doesn’t mean that it’s “wrong” for it to work for someone else. And it’s everyone else’s responsibility to stick up for themselves and not let other people make you “feel” a certain way. They are either with you or they aren’t. Simple as that.

It’s time to stop with the labels and stop with the judgements. Your sexual preference doesn’t make you any better than the person to your left or the person to your right. So why do we need to label it? Fear? Are we that afraid to just get to know someone for who they are inside and risk learning something new or having our concrete ideas shattered that we immediately put up our defenses when we find out someone is “gay” or different from us? Our religions do not give us the right to play God. It may be 2013, but some of us still have our heads crammed so far up our own asses we choose judgement over acceptance. Can we just pull it out already?

I challenge you this week to talk to someone you normally wouldn’t talk to. Ask them an off the wall question and see what happens. Afraid someone might think you’re crazy? Good, it’ll get you out of that comfortable little bubble your stuck in. I challenge you to give a warm and loving smile to that stranger you would normally just walk past. I challenge you to tell your friends/family members/co-workers that are different from you, “Hey, seeing you live your truth is inspiring”.  You don’t say things like that? Do it anyways. It might just change the way you see yourself. Afterall, the views we have of the world mirror the views we have about ourselves.

It’s about god damn time we start a revolution around here.