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Because I Cry

The last few weeks have been emotional for me for many reasons. At any moment I find that I feel the burning pressure at the bottom of my lower lids that is accompanied by incessant blinking as I try to wash away the tears hovering just around the curve of my eye.

I once believed to be strong one had to swallow their tears. I didn't like to cry, even though tears seem to accompany most of my emotions. I'm sad. I cry. I'm angry. I cry. I'm happy. I cry. Perhaps because I didn't like them they enjoyed springing to the surface so readily.

But, in the last two weeks I've cried because I had a realistic bad dream which I couldn't seem to wake myself from. I cried for a friend driving to the gym because I didn't have any words to respond with that could make her feel better. I cried watching a movie because a father died, and I've never known a good father. I cried because I'm scared of what is coming in the next months.

And mostly, I've cried because I finished my book about my grandma, Ita. I hesitated finishing it, and I didn't know why. Although writing it was hard, and I had to deal with many emotions when I finished, I realized that the closeness I've felt by writing about her would be over. I'd captured all the major stories I could dig up, and now with it finished it seems as if she is dying all over again. Even as I type the tears hover, and I can't explain why.

When I cried in the kitchen last week he told me, "But she has a book. She'll live forever in a book. Imagine if she knew she was book? How happy would she be?"

I nodded knowing he was right. My Ita would be so happy to know she lived on in pages. That people would read her and discuss her. Ita, Licha, Alicia lives on in all the words and pages I scraped together.

Earlier this week a friend asked, "Why did you write this?", and I didn't have a ready answer.  I hesitated on what to say. My mind thought, "I wrote it for love. I wrote it for all the great things my Ita did for me. I wrote it to forget all the bad things I did, all the bad things Ita did. I wrote it because I miss her and sometimes I still feel guilty she died without us around. I wrote it because I had to do something with the weight I was carrying around. But mostly, I wrote it because I miss her and I didn't know how much I loved her until I lost her."

Instead I answered with something more composed. More scripted. The things you can say to a person in a coffee shop that keep the hovering tears in check.

So, for now I learn something else in this journey and because I cry I know that I am strong.

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Listas de Colombia

Number of hours spent traveling: 20
Days spent in Colombia: 29
Cazuela de frijoles comidas: 2
Tres Cordillera cervezas tomadas: 15
Shots of aguardiente shots I turned away: 6
Shots of aguardiente I couldn't turn away: 4
Veces que usé tenso equivocado en español: unknown
Ceviches I ate: 6
Days at the beach: 4
Micheladas: 10
Showers taken: 58
Sunblock application: 10
Usos de la palabra chevre: 5
People asked why I was a brown gringa: 4
Times I was offended by this: 0
Times people thought I was Colombian until I spoke: unknown
Apologies made on behalf of United States for Donald Trump: 1
Explanation of the El Paso/Juarez border: 5
Uso de la frase, "ese man": 20
Photos taken: 88
Veces que escuchú salsa: infinito
Ramen from Formosa restaurant eaten: 3
Max number of hours of speaking only Spanish before mouth and brain hurt: 4
New tattoo: 1
Book read: 1
Books started and left unfinished: 1
Reruns of CSI: Miami watched on AXN: 20
Ubers rides: 15
Chicharonnes eaten: 12
Jaras de …