I Don’t Know Who Needs To Hear This But….

You are not alone.

I know that feeling. I know how it feels to feel like you have to deal with your demons silently. I know how it feels to feel like you can’t even turn to your own family. I know how it feels to not even want to turn to your closest friends or significant other for fear of feeling like a burden. I know how it feels to feel like you have no one. I know how it feels to feel like you’re stuck and have no options.

I know that place, and it freakin’ sucks to be in it.

That being said, I don’t care if I don’t know you, I don’t care if you think I may not like you, I don’t even care if we’ve had “issues” in the past. If you’re seriously struggling internally and feel like you’ve got nowhere to go and no one to speak to, I will be “someone” for you. I will be there for you if you want and/or need it.

If I can be of some type of help to you, or just someone to speak to for the day to clear your mind and thoughts, or be that ‘shoulder to cry on,’ I will be that.

Please reach out. I promise you, someone will care and want to listen. I promise that you won’t actually have to go through anything alone.

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Stay Strong.

-Xoxo, Emily ❤

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My First 2 Tattoo Experiences

Hey Everybody! The title of this post is self-explanatory, but I’m going to be speaking about my overall first experiences of getting tattooed; where I went, what I got, why I got it, and a ton of other things involving that.

Obviously everyone’s experiences are different and will be different, but I’m going to share with you guys how it was for me both times.

I really wanted to be able to document the first time I got tattooed, but it was so in the moment, that I completely forgot and by the time I thought about it, it was over. So, I’m going to be incorporating my first and second one in this.

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Firstly, I just want to start off by saying that I’ve always been interested in tattoos, like the artistic-ness of it, the meanings behind certain ones, etc. BUT, I really never thought I would ever be the type to want and/or get any. For a LONG time, I never even considered it. Like are you crazy?! Going through that pain, inking my body like that and having to literally live with it for the rest of my life!?! Naw, not for me, sorry….

However, I think that drastically changed (obviously lol) in the past year. I would say what really pushed me to get my first one, was when Spencer passed away almost a year ago (my cat who I wrote an entire post about and will leave linked here in case you wanted to check it out). It took me a while to really push myself to go and get it, but I knew that, for myself, I wanted and needed to do it for him.

I was researching like crazy, looking up ideas for what I wanted and trying to plan the entire thing out so it could be perfect. It was about a month after he passed that I settled on what exactly I wanted (which is pictured below).

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I finally ended up getting it on June 16, 2018.

I settled on what I wanted about a month after he passed away, but didn’t actually end up getting it done until about 6-7 months after I settled on it. There’s a variety of reasons for this, but mainly because of the nerves I had about it all.

I actually kind of got lucky because a friend of mine who I’ve literally known since I was a kid, is a tattoo artist, and so once I finally settled on what I wanted, I contacted her and she completely talked me through the whole thing and settled my nerves TREMENDOUSLY. Even on the day of, she was talking me through everything, answered every single question I had from the amount of pain I may be feeling, to the equipment she was using, etc. It was SO comforting and an overall great experience.

The name of the girl I went to is Shamalee Delacruz (her Instagram name is @tatubuny if you live in New York and wanted to check her and her work out, which you guys totally should). She is such a sweet person, and her work is really great. She’s so great at detail and making sure you get EXACTLY what it is you want, which is obviously extremely important when getting a tattoo. So I 100% recommend her if you’re considering getting any sort of tattoo work done.

I obviously spoke about the general meaning of it, as in who it was dedicated to, but to be more “specific”, my first one is just saying that Spencer will always be apart of me, in my heart. As for the placement of that tattoo, I got it on my wrist because it was somewhere that I knew I would always be able to see it. So now, whenever I miss him or anything, I just always look down, see it there and it always weirdly makes me feel better.

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So that was my first tattoo, which I got back in June. For my second one, which I just got done 2 days ago, I went to Shamalee again and got something that was extremely deep in meaning and important to me.

It always feels weird to talk about this one, just because it’s not something that I’m like trying to brag about to people, and I also just don’t generally talk about it much to anyone that isn’t super close to me (although I am trying to get better at being more vocal about it).

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Ultimately, the second one I got has to do with mental health. I’ve briefly spoken about it a few times on my blog before, but for those of you that are new and/or just didn’t know, I suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s something that I think I’ve always sort of dealt with throughout my life, but only recently did it start to get worse and really make me realize how real it is. This is something in my life that I’m probably always going to have to deal with, and if you know me, you know that I’m a fighter. But, when I have bad days, I have REALLY bad days, which I don’t always like to admit because of how intense it is, but the thought of suicide does come to mind every now and than. And I really don’t at all mean to say that light-heartedly, but it’s the truth, and because of that I decided to get this tattoo.

For those of you that don’t know, in literature, a semi-colon is used when an author could’ve ended a sentence, but chose not to. In this case, specifically, the author is myself and the sentence is my life. Something so tiny, yet so meaningful and impactful. So that’s the meaning of the semi-colon itself, as for the birds, I’ve just ALWAYS been obsessed with little bird tattoos for some reason, I think they’re so cute and just add more meaning to most tattoos. With that, a bird usually symbolizes freedom and perspective. See the finished product below.

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Got this one done on Saturday, September 29th.

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For both times, it was the weirdest thing because the days leading up to me actually getting them, I was nervous as hell. But the day of and throughout the entire process, I was strangely calm. Partly I’m sure because of how comfortable Shamalee made me, and I guess the other part is just because I knew how much they both meant to me and how badly I wanted them.

Which now leads me to one of the most important aspects of getting tattooed that most people wonder about….the pain. And rightfully so considering you should know more or less exactly what you’re getting yourself into before doing it. Now, as I mentioned earlier, everyone’s experience is and will be different, which means that everyone’s pain tolerance is different. Personally, being that I had never done anything remotely close to this before, I was pretty much going in blind since I had no form of reference for how much “pain” or not I was going to be in. The place that I got both my tattoos (the wrist area) is supposed to be an extremely sensitive spot for them; as in, it’s typically suppose to be more painful, especially since my second one kind of wraps around my wrist onto my bone. But personally, it really didn’t hurt much at all. It really just felt like hard, repetitive pinching….is that weird? Just me? Okay then….

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Overall, for both of my tattoos, I had two (thankfully) great and easy going experiences and healing processes.

And to be honest, I’m already addicted and planning what I might…..probably…..most likely will be getting next….don’t judge me!! 🌚

Anyway guys, that’s it for this post. Those were my first 2 tattoo experiences. I really hope that you guys enjoyed it. Leave me a comment down below or write to me on social media about what your first tattoo experience(s) were like, I’d love to hear from you about it! 😀

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you guys in my next one.

*Special thanks again to Shamalee for doing this for me and making me feel super comfortable throughout it all, and for doing exactly what I wanted! As well as Diego for taking these great pictures! ❤ *

-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

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Our Warrior 🎗🙏🏼

How do you even begin to attempt to tell the story of a person that was taken way too soon by such an ugly/deadly disease? Unless you’ve been through it personally, the answer to that question is that you can’t. But, I guess the closest thing to knowing what it feels like is to watch someone you’re close to or just love/care about go through it.

It is with a huge amount of sadness that I say this is exactly what happened to a very special person in my family, my aunt Stephanie Melendez. She had been fighting and going back and forth with this terrible illness for years. She was fighting until her very last breathe was taken on October 18, 2017 at 4:30 am. Stephanie was 33-years-old; daughter, sister, wife, and most importantly, mother, to three beautiful girls.

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I’ve been thinking about what to say about this for nearly five days. These things/situations are always the worse; it’s like you want to be helpful and supportive but what do you even say? Pretty much nothing you say or do is going to help the person or people in this situation, they just lost a loved one to cancer. I think that’s always the worse part, wanting to be helpful and do all these things to attempt to console them, but feeling so helpless at the same time because you know nothing is really going to help them or make them feel better except getting that person back. Well that’s been my issue since Wednesday morning. So many things I wish I could say and do, but nothing feels right or anywhere near good enough.

I hate the fakeness that tends to come out when people pass away and during funerals. Suddenly people you haven’t seen or spoken to in years starts to come out of nowhere with all these words and feelings, but where was all this when the person was alive? Obviously it’s fine and one thing to express your condolences towards the person’s family and passing, but there’s a difference between that and coming out of left field making it seem like you guys were so much closer than what you really were. It’s not authentic and you’re only lying to yourself. That being said, I’m not going to pretend like I was super close to Steph, because I wasn’t, but I am going to say how I feel about her and everything that’s happened.

I want to do it in a way that describes her but also as a letter to her in a way that says everything I want to and wish I could’ve said to her.

Stephanie had her issues, and she made mistakes, but who doesn’t? There were a ton of things that used to be said about her BECAUSE of the mistakes she’s made, but you know what? She was an amazing freaking mother, and she always put her girls first no matter what. My thought is, you can make all the mistakes in the world, as long as you don’t involve or harm your kids in the process and step up when it comes down to it, that’s all that would REALLY matter. I used to hear a lot of things, facts, rumors, whatever you want to consider it, when they all still lived in New York, but I really didn’t care for 3 major reasons; 1. It was never my business what she did or didn’t do behind closed doors, 2. Her girls were always happy, healthy and taken care of, and 3. When she was around me she was always so sweet and genuine.

You know extended families when you see each other after a long time of not, they ask you the usual questions; how are you? How’s school? Are you in a relationship now? How’s your boyfriend/girlfriend? But it’s just typical stuff, so you don’t ever actually know if they care or simply asking because they feel like they should for the sake of conversation. But with Stephanie, it was different, she would ask these kinds of questions but there was something about it that you could just tell she actually cared about my responses, she always seemed interested and I loved that. And this meant the world to me because I could tell when others would ask and not really care so much. She also taught me how to hold a baby and change their diapers; with her supervision at certain times and even a lot of times without it, I know she trusted me with her girls because she knew how much I loved them and vice versa how much they loved me.

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When Stephanie, her husband and their girls moved to Florida I was so unbelievably sad. I don’t even remember saying bye to them. But it was sad because I was going to be going from seeing them pretty much every Saturday, to really not seeing them at all. They were only in Orlando, so it wasn’t THAT far obviously, but it was far enough, especially since it wasn’t like I was going to be able to travel back and forth to see them. In general, it just sucked. But I guess that’s why social media is so convenient, because we were able to keep up with each others’ lives. On and off through the years I would comment on her snapchats of the girls, and how much I missed them all and wanted to visit. She would tell me she missed me too, so did the girls and that I would always be welcomed to stay with them if I did visit. That always made me feel good and happy to hear. I’m actually jealous of my brother because he was able to go over there and visit them twice; technically it was for school/work but nonetheless he got to go stay with them and spend time with them for a few days, that which I never got to do. I had wanted to for a few years now but for one reason or another it never got to happen.

When I first found out you had been diagnosed with cervical cancer I was shocked and scared for you. I don’t remember who told me or how I found out exactly, but my first thoughts were definitely shocked, nervous for you, and the girls. Now, when I found out how long you were actually dealing with this, but hadn’t gotten any treatment, I’m not going to lie, I was mad at you because I couldn’t figure out how you could’ve known about this but not done anything to treat it. I realize now that was selfish of me, because of course it’s cancer so you were probably terrified. You also had a baby that was dealing with a heart condition that you put before yourself which was typical for you, so it all made sense afterwards.

When I found out you were in remission a few months ago and saw that video if you ringing the bell and reading the sign, I can’t tell you how happy it made me, I watched it about 2-3 times and couldn’t help but have a smile on my face. It was over, you were in the clear and weren’t going to have to worry about any of that again…or so we thought. Unfortunately, about two months later, you relapsed, but it wasn’t an ordinary type of relapse, it was as if this time around it came back for vengeance because it was back and hit harder than ever; but that didn’t seem to matter to you because you were prepared to fight it just like you did the first time….our super woman. And that’s exactly what you did was fight from that point on.

I remember finding out you had relapsed, I was sad again but for some reason not as worried about it, because I knew you had beat it once before, and you could do it again. Things got ugly and serious so fast after that. I’m pretty sure it was Jimito, my cousin, who told me about 2-3 weeks ago that your kidneys were failing so it was really just a matter of days/weeks now. When I heard that I was beyond the point of being at a loss for words. My first instinct was to reach out to Naisha (her oldest daughter). But what the hell was I going to say? Sorry that your mom is dying? Nothing I said would make her feel better or sound like anything she didn’t already know/hear. So, I opted to just being real and ask how she was doing  REALLY, she responded, “I’m okay, no one wants to see their mom going through this.” That alone was enough to break my heart and send me to tears. But I wanted to keep talking to her, I was determined to somehow or another either take her mind off things for a little while or somehow make her feel better. So we started talking about Demi Lovato.

Now, if you know me you know that I absolutely LOVE Demi Lovato and even that is probably an understatement. Recently (through her snapchats) I’ve noticed that she’s been liking her more and more, and (although it’s probably not the case) I like to think I had something to do with that lol. So I started to talk to her about Demi. We spoke about how much we liked her, why we liked her, her documentary and how good it was, etc. She ended up telling me how much she wished she could go to one of her concerts, and with me, so I told her we would, to one of her shows for her tour next year and I fully intend on making that happen for her if it means making her feel just a tiny bit better and putting a smile on her face.

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Fast-forward to a few days after this, we kept hearing about how worse you were getting and my mom and I were thinking/talking about how long it had been since the last time we spoke to you. We knew that although we wanted nothing more than for you to get better, the unfortunate reality was that your time was limited, and we wanted to able to speak to you and hear your voice one last time; so we called you. Actually, we called Naisha to hear her voice for a bit too first and see how she was, then we asked to speak to you, which was a little difficult because this was at the point where you were at your weakest so you could barely talk or move on your own anymore. My mom did most of the talking because, again, I had no idea what to say. My mom said hi to you, wished you well, and told you to keep fighting. With what little strength you had, you said hi to us followed by a series of “mhmms,” because that’s all that you could muster. At one point, I finally said hi and you said “hi…” then asked my mom, “who is that?” and she told you who I was and you were like “Ohhhh hi mama!” You sounded really happy/excited, which made me really happy. Then my mom asked you to sing something for her because she knew you loved music. You were quiet for like 2 minutes, then started humming for a few minutes before falling quiet again from being in and out of sleep. My mom started to end the conversation with you, she said she loved you, then I said bye I love you…and then I broke down. I started crying because deep down I had a feeling that was going to be the last time I ever spoke to you and I couldn’t believe it. It really was heartbreaking…And then the conversation ended.

Roughly two weeks after that conversation was when it happened. The ugly and disgusting monster that is cancer beat her, and as a result, took her life. It was Wednesday morning, I had gotten woken up by a phone call on the house phone, which I found weird for two reasons; 1. It was 7 o’clock in the morning, and 2. We rarely get calls on the house phone, let alone at that time of morning. The person left a message on the machine, but I didn’t hear who it was or what they had to say, I just know it was really weird. So I went about my morning getting ready for work, and then I saw my phone light up with a text from my mom, and for some reason that was it, that solidified the nervous feeling I got in the pit of my stomach. I just knew, or had a feeling, it was THAT text. And sure enough when I opened it, it was exactly what I feared. Stephanie had officially taken her last breath at 4:30 that morning. When I found out I couldn’t believe it, I broke down crying and shaking for about 10 minutes. This couldn’t be real, she couldn’t have actually died. She was supposed to get better and be okay again for Pipo and the girls. What’s going to happen now for them? So many questions and concerns running through my mind, but it wasn’t about me, it was about them and all the love and support they were going to need from this point forward, and now here we are….

Stephanie:I love you. I’m so sorry and sad that you are gone, but so unbelievably happy that you’re finally at peace and no longer in pain. You were an amazing mother to the girls, but you never have to worry about them being taken care of. And although it hadn’t happened in a few years, I’m going to miss the little talks on Saturdays we had when you guys still lived in New York. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be in Florida with everyone to pay my respects in person, but I’m really hoping somehow this makes up for that. 😔🙏🏼

Pipo & Girls: I love you guys so much ❤️❤️. I’m so sorry for your guys loss. Nobody should ever have to deal with this kind of loss, heartbreak, and pain. But you guys are all so unbelievably strong and loved 💪🏼❤️. None of you guys will ever have to worry about being alone or anything along those lines. But I guess that’s what’s great about having a big family, all of the love and support that comes along with that. I don’t want to say that everything’s going to be alright, because 1. I’ve never had to go through anything even remotely close to this before to know that, and 2. It’s not and won’t be for a long time if we’re being completely honest, and I know it may be hard to see and believe right now, but she really is in a better place right now, and this way she will literally always be with you guys. Your guys own personal guardian angel ❤️. And she’s probably up there in Heaven flying high with mamita right now watching over all of us ❤️🙏🏼

To The Rest of My Family: Let us please use this as a reason to become closer as a family, not more separated the way we’ve kind of all been the past few years. As cliche as it sounds, I think this situation can be used as a way to show/tell us to be more appreciative and mindful of our loved ones before it’s too late, because you truly never know when it’s going to be the last time you speak to or see your family or friends.😪

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“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. 

These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fill them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. 

Beautiful people do not just happen.”- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross 💪🏼❤️🙏🏼🎗

I know that the majority of you who will read this that aren’t family, don’t know her or her family, but any little bit can and will help them during this difficult time. Click the link below to donate anything that you can.

https://www.gofundme.com/stephanie-melendez-memorial-fund