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      Five Things Quarentena Ed.

      1. I've had the babies full time for two full months now. Full of what? Full of love, challenges, insecurity, fear, laughter, fun, late nights, late mornings, movie nights, a new pool(!), and then another new bigger pool(!!). I feel like alllll of my 21+ years of being a tia has lead to this... I will say that it is so different. Being the fun, part time tia is a drastic change to being a full time caregiver. These little ones have taught me more than I could ever teach them. 

      2. Speaking of the pool... Today makes 6 days with our new friend. Well, I guess technically 5 since it took a half day to make it then another half day to fill it. I have had to take several crash courses (thank, YouTube University) on how to properly care for and maintain a pool, but so far so good. This has lead me on a path of renewed appreciation for my backyard. Back in the day, my dad had the greenest, most lush yard on our block. I remember him tending to his beloved grass every evening. I remember when he planted the grapefruit tree. I remember when he built his huge space. Now it's my turn. While I don't know how to do those things on my own, I'm open to learning and the research part of it has been so fun. It's also amazing to witness how the babies manage it. Nana is down to get dirty, to stay out there with us alllllll day long and work. Rudy, on the other hand, prefers to stay inside with his Nintendo Switch. I make sure he gets plenty of time outside these days, and having the pool has been a big incentive. 

      3. A few days ago Nana couldn't "starfish", that's how they they taught Rudy how to float at the east side YMCA a few years ago. She was terrified of getting her nose underwater and any kind of splashing caused her to flail her arms and legs and break her floating. I have spent time with them, just the three of us, practicing their swimming and she's made drastic improvement! This babygirl can now starfish with no problem, splashing and all, and is now swimming underwater. Today she showed me how she can dive for toys that are sinking at the bottom and is so proud of herself. I'm amazed. 

      4. While getting the yard prepared for the pool, my sister pointed out that one of my trees was dead. I never noticed it before (keep in mind that my time in the backyard was minimal at best. I didn't believe her at first, but it was the only tree without any foliage. I love trees and can stare up at them for hours on end... I'm sad I never noticed this tree was pretty much rotten inside. I got in touch with my yard dude and they were able to come through and tear it down to pieces. 
      I thought a lot about that tree, I still do. How is it that I never noticed that it was no longer blooming? How did I miss the lack of shade? How many times did I walk past it without even looking up? 
      I think this can be applied to so many things in life. How many dead trees are there in our lives? Is there anything we can do to make them come back to life? And once they're done, rotten inside, do we just let them stay or cut them down and make room for sunlight? 

      5. I turned thirty-eight during a pandemic and it was still, somehow, my favorite birthday of all time. Each year gets better and better and although I wasn't able to carry out my original plans, what came as a surprise knocked me off my feet. Can you believe we're still in this? It will be a while longer, I think, but I do believe we will make it out. What are you imagining for the other side? If you read this, and I'm really not sure who does, please let me know. What will the next stage be like for you, and what dead trees are you clearing out? 

       

      Love you, 

      Cristina

      thirty seven

      I type this in the last few minutes of my 37th year.

      ..................................


      thirty seven

      was a

      fkn whirlwind.

      I did so much, saw so much, loved so much, learned so much. My business reached heights that I couldn’t even dream up. I connected in deeper ways with new people, and with the same ppl i’ve been connected to.

      I re-connected then disconnected once again to my very best friend in life. I cannot stand by and watch it happen, and I’m sorry, but I miss you and will love you always.

      There was travel to my favorite places, and concerts and so many family dinners and trips to the river and days sitting on my couch laughing.

      Shows, some of my very favorite events happened during 37, shows that will go down in San Anto herstory.
      There were difficulties you wouldn’t believe if I told you. GIRRRL, shit went down that will one day go in a book, but for now all you get is a teaser…
      my heart has broken twice over the same person, once when I was thirteen and then again in my 37th year. Each in very very different ways, but still a heartbreak nonetheless. One day I’ll tell you about it.
      My sister and I learned, the hard way, just how much we mean to each other. I thank god for a stronger-than-ever bond with Oti.

      And then there’s love… I found a love I have only ever written in my spell books. I found a love that seems to check off every single box, and then create even more that I didn’t know I deserved. A love that I guard so hard, bc its a forever thing. This year gave me the love of my life, who showed up in the most unexpected way and place, who fits in my heart so perfectly, who my family already adores, who has MET MY MAMA. Who has PLAYED LOTERIA WITH MY MAMA.
      God, I thank you every single day for bringing me the peachiest peach of my dreams. I never thought it could be like this.

      Tomorrow brings thirty eight in the weirdest way. I’ll still somehow be surrounded by love, but this time I’ll also be in charge of two of my babies. Rudy and Nana have been with full time for nearly two months now and whoa… this shit is bananas.

      I can’t and won’t call myself a mother, that is not what I am to them, but right now I take that maternal and nurturer role and I am learning more and more about myself every day during this pandemic.
      The señora in me is thriving as I tend to my casita, and tend to the babies, and develop new rhythms.

      Every single year I take the time to write up a wish list and this year is no different, sometime between now and tomorrow I’ll have a long list of things I’d like to eventually cross off. I crossed off so many things in 37, things I thought impossible… for 38 I will start with the protection of my friends and family and then their friends and family. I’ll include the protection around some of my favorite places like La Botanica and Brick at Blue Star and also the small businesses that were such a huge part of my life.

      I know we will come out of this, I pray that we are even better on the other side. I am working on it.

      Ps: I miss the ocean.

      Very That Loves Brick at Blue Star

      I had big party planned for next week at Brick at Blue Star for what would be my 8th anniversary with Very That and my 38th birthday. Last year’s bash had my heart wide wide wide open. I cultivate community through my events. They are not just parties, they are not just markets, they are a gathering of community, of comadres, to celebrate each other and to celebrate handmade and arte and musica. & my friends at Brick have always welcomed me and my ideas with open arms. 

      What Brick means to me, and to so many of us small business owners and artists in San Antonio can only be described as HOME. Brick and Elizabeth helped me fine tune my craft and my pop ups, I was a vendor before finding Sunday Markets, but those weekly set ups became like lessons for me. Brick elevated my game. 
       Elizabeth kindly suggested display ideas, she instilled in me how important it is to present your store and products. She taught me how to layout a market and why flow is so impactful. When Elizabeth tells me she is proud of me, it’s like hearing it from my own family. 
      I wish I knew how many times Very That has set up at this beautiful venue in the heart of South Town, I lost count a long long time ago. But this is where we go, this is where we set up, this is where we visit even on our days off, this is the place I tell all my friends that are new to vendors to start with. Brick is so deep inside of my heart, I cannot wait for the day when I open those big beautiful doors, walk in and say hello to so many of my friends, and look up at the chandeliers above me. 
      Because of this and so so much more, I ask that you please donate to Brick’s Go Fund Me. Let’s take care of it the way it has taken care of us. 

      flashback.

      Facebook memories have a funny way of making time stop for me. Today's reminder from three years ago REALLY had me pause for a long time and reflect. 
      If you know me or have been following me for a minute, you know that my casita has a huge part of my heart. I have lived in one house my whole life, this house. I likely took my first steps, said my first words in this very place. One of my greatest manifestations has been this house, I've always known she was meant to be mine. 
      I take great pride in my home and she is my favorite place to be. 
      Three years ago today, I was at breakfast with two friends working on J's campaign. I have dope friends that do dope shit. She was in the very early stages of running for city council. I offered my design help and in the middle of our meeting, I receive a text that changed everything. 
      I was with my ex for just under two years, and while there were some good moments there was a lot of manipulation and abuse (although I didn't know to call it that at the time). Any time I tried to leave, I was met with threats of suicide and self-harm. That in itself made it almost impossible to leave. She knew my heart, she knew the softest parts of it, and played on that. 
      TW (abuse, violence, suicide): 
      She sent me a photo of a noose hanging from my back porch next to a ladder. I have long since deleted her messages, but she said something along the lines of, "This is what you have lead me to do." 
      This wasn't the first time she threatened to kill herself, actually it happened quite often, but this was the first time she put the full blame on me. 
      I broke down as soon as I saw the message, I called 9-1-1 and sped home. I begged my friends not to follow, this was embarrassing and terrifying. They are some of the best people I know and did not listen to me.
      During that drive, I had to call my neighbor of my entire life. She would be worried seeing cops at my house. She, in many ways, is like family. We don't share meals or talk every day, but we check in. I told her what was happening and she went outside to see the officers. By that time, my ex had driven off, leaving behind evidence that she was there to scare me, to threaten me yet again. 

      That day broke me in a way I was able to heal from, but it took a long time to feel myself in my own home again. My house has since gone through many transformations, we have done a lot of work to get this energy right. I am so careful with who can come in, who can share space, and the boundaries that come with maintaining my safest space. 
      I share this even though it's hard to revisit these memories. I hope these words reach someone that needs a sign to LEAVE. Our peace is worth so much. If I could go back, I would have left at the first sign of gaslighting, the first feeling of manipulation. It is not worth it. No te dejes.