Our 1st fight

I have a confession to make. Two weeks after becoming married, I stopped wearing my engagement ring. Well, this caused me and my newlywed husband, to have our 1st marital disagreement.

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My engagement ring on our wedding day. Photo by: Melissa Mercado Photography

Let me explain. I love love my engagement ring. I also love my wedding band. While my engagement ring is perfect and beautiful, I didn’t feel the need to wear it, everyday. I spend most of my days at home cooking, cleaning, and writing. I usually only leave our place to go shopping.

I always take my rings off when cleaning, working out, or going into the pool/ocean. I take great care of them, because they do mean so much to me.

One day, at dinner, two weeks after becoming married, I pointed out to my husband I wasn’t wearing my ring. This wasn’t the first time I had gone without my engagement ring, since we had become married. I honestly didn’t think it was a big deal. I was still wearing my wedding band. His reaction was unexpected. I figured he wouldn’t care, but I was wrong. He cared a great deal. He was offended.

I never before thought what the ring meant to him. He put time, love, and effort into picking out the best ring for me. After a woman is gifted her engagement ring it all becomes about her, and the wedding day.

I don’t know how to explain this, but it’s never been about the ring for me. After we became engaged, I wasn’t that girl posting pictures of my ring on social media. I never wanted anyone to think it was about getting that ring, it never was for me. It has always been about the love and the promise of a lifetime with this Incredible man. I wanted the focus to be on that, and not the Bling.

I’ve always said, I would be happy with a nice gold band. I never told my husband about diamonds. We never went looking at diamond rings. My husband gifted me with a beautiful diamond engagement ring from Tiffany and Co. Of course, when he proposed, I immediately fell in love with it. I continue to receive lovely compliments about it, which I sincerely appreciate. Like most newly engaged women, I would immediately stick my hand out after we told someone we had gotten engaged.

About a month after being engaged, we went to a restaurant. My husband knew the waitress. He told her we recently became engaged, because he was also a proud fiancé. I did the normal “here look at my ring” hand gesture.  She had also recently become engaged. She showed us her ring, and her diamond was tiny. In that moment, she showed me, reminded me, no matter the size, it’s about the love. She was just as excited about her engagement. She was just as in love with her fiancé. That’s when I decided to stop showing off my ring to people when we told them about our engagement. I never want to be the kind of woman that would unintentionally make another woman feel bad about what she was gifted. Everyone’s love deserves to be celebrated, not just the ring.

Back to our 1st newlywed disagreement. I never stopped to think about what my engagement ring meant to my husband. He looked for months at different places. He asked friends opinions about rings he was looking at for me. He had to sneak around and find time when we weren’t together. He even downloaded the Tiffany and Co. application on his phone. He made people promise not to tell me he was looking at rings, because he wanted it to be a true surprise, which it was. This ring not only meant an eternal promise, but also his pride on picking out the most perfect ring for me. Finally, I had to put myself in his shoes. I had to take into account how special it really was to the man who has loved and supported me. After dinner, I went and put my engagement ring back on. I always make sure to wear my rings together.

I Love this man. Our wedding day with both my rings and hands around him. Photo by: Melissa Mercado Photography

I Love this man. Our wedding day with both my rings and hands around him. Photo by: Melissa Mercado Photography

The best part of marriage is learning how to have those disagreements, and being able to see something from someone else’s perspective. I think that’s called growth, right? In our 1st disagreement, I’ll admit it, my husband was right.

HAIRstory

Remember the lyrics from India Arie’s song, “I am not my hair”? She sings, “I am not my hair. I’m not this skin. I am the soul that lives within.” I’ve always felt that way.

Gray hair, long hair, short hair, don’t care!
I’m not one of those people that changes my look, my hair at 1st whim. There is nothing wrong with that. I admire those people who have the courage to have fun with their own style. I appreciate when I look back at old pictures, I can see different hairstyles and stages that I was at in life.

My FLOTUS inspired bangs. Feb 2013.

My FLOTUS inspired bangs. Feb 2013.

A brief Hairstory of my life:
Basically, I wasn’t allowed to cut or color my hair until the age of 18, per my strict Mexican father’s rule. Shortly after 18, I chopped off my waist length hair and colored it. I felt liberated. This was my way of rebelling. I suppose, it still wasn’t rebelling because I waited until after 18. Still I knew my father wasn’t happy about it. No one was, because traditionally as a Mexican girl, I was supposed to have this long beautiful hair.
I have to be honest. I have what people would refer to as “good” hair. It doesn’t get frizzy, not even in this Texas heat. I never even brush it, or put product in it. It always falls back into place, and when I go to sleep and wake up it looks the same. It just is what it is. I can thank my Aztec ancestors for that.
I kept coloring and highlighting it until the age of 23. I also, used to wear colored contacts until that age. Why? I have beautiful dark brown hair and beautiful dark brown eyes. At around this age, I started to truly love and accept myself and my natural beauty. I stopped with the coloring and colored contacts. I liked looking in the mirror and seeing my true self, and not someone else I was trying to be.

May 2004. 23yrs old. With my highlighted hair and colored contacts.

May 2004. 23yrs old. With my highlighted hair and colored contacts.

Around 26yrs old, I noticed my 1st gray hairs. Yikes!! Of course, I freaked out and colored them. Why? Because that’s what I grew up watching my mom and abuelita do. At least, I was coloring them my natural hair color, right? Still a natural beauty, right? That’s what I told myself.

At 29, again, with waist length hair I cut it all off. Why? Perhaps, I was preparing myself for 30 and the big changes the next decade of my life was going to bring? I didn’t want to go into 30 looking the same way I did for the latter part of my 20’s.
In April 2013, at 32yrs old, I became engaged. That changed everything because now I had to grow out my hair for the wedding.
From June 2013, until the week of my wedding in May 2014, I did not color or cut my hair. I only colored my grays because I kept getting “encouragement” from my parents and friends to color my grays for the wedding. I succumbed to the pressure and bought some cheap over the counter color. I colored my hair and made a disaster in our bathroom and myself. My lovely darling fiancé, had to help me clean myself and our bathroom up. I’m not sure if it made me feel any more beautiful on my wedding day, because I hadn’t any gray hairs? I never felt unattractive with my grays. My fiancé affectionately named my grays my, “wisdom marks.” I wasn’t ashamed of them. I didn’t feel less confidant or sexy. I felt more confidant and sexy, for truly being able to embrace all of me.

My "Wisdom Marks". NYC, Oct 2013.

My “Wisdom Marks”. NYC, Oct 2013.

Last December (2013), mi abuelita, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. After several rounds of Chemotherapy she started to lose her hair. At the age of 75, she was waking up with hairs on her pillow, and losing hairs in the shower. Mi abuelita and I, have the same thick and full head of hair. Eventually, we had to shave her head. She wasn’t worried about how she looked. At the age of 75, she’s no longer defined by her youthful beauty. She knows she’s beautiful because she’s simply herself. I remember when her hair started to fall out, I asked her, “are you o.k.?” “How do you feel?” She threw her hands in the air and started dancing. How Amazing is she? She is fighting a greater battle than losing her hair. She’s fighting for her life. Hair loss seemed so trivial to her. Why? Because, it’s just hair. She’s as beautiful bald. Honestly, she’s more concerned about having to explain to people that the reason she’s bald is because she has Cancer. Cancer has a way of putting things in perspective.

Bald is Beautiful. Mi Abuelita. F&$% Cancer!

Bald is Beautiful. Mi Abuelita. F&$% Cancer!

Leading up to our wedding, I was annoyed, annoyed, I tell you with my long hair. It gets in the way of everything. I would tell my fiance, “I can’t wait to chop off all this hair after the wedding.” That poor angel of mine, heard me complain about my hair for about a good 6 months.

I know it looks pretty, but I was over it. July 2014.

I know it looks pretty, but I was over it. July 2014.

Since, I decided I was once, again, going to chop off all my hair, I decided to wait until I went back home to the Midwest to see my girl. Ya know, we all have that one person we trust with our hair. For me, it’s Mayra. She has been cutting and coloring my hair since I was in High School. When I stopped coloring my grays, she made sure to question me about it. I replied with, “Yes. This is me. This is who I am. I have gray hair, and I’m loving all of me.”
To her surprise or maybe not, I decided to cut it all off, again. Only this time, I went even shorter. All I know is, after living in Texas for only a month with long hair, I was HOT. I wasn’t hot in the sexy way. I was hot in the sweaty and uncomfortable way. It was at least 95 deg and humid, everyday.
I sat in Mayra’s chair and told her, “chop it all off. I want it all gone.” I also asked for purple hair, but they didn’t have enough color for all my hair. That was a huge relief to my husband and mother. I decided on caramel highlights, instead. I immediately felt lighter after chopping off all that hair.

Hair be gone! September 2014.

Hair be gone! September 2014.

I wanted something different and fun, and it has been. I feel more like myself with shorter hair. I feel more free with shorter hair. I don’t regret growing my hair out for our wedding. It allowed me to have a great wedding hairstyle. I plan on going even shorter. I’ll probably do without the highlights next time. They’ve been nice, especially since I haven’t had them in over 10yrs. However, I’m ready to go back to my more natural beautiful self.

Before and After. September 2014. Thank you, Mayra.

Before and After. September 2014. Thank you, Mayra.