May Things

May was fun! I mean, summer time is here again for SURE! It’s 97 degrees outside right now. I can’t wait for a day when I’m able to go to the swimming pool. I love swimming so much.

Image description: a selfie of Libby and her partner, Ryan. They are standing outside, in front of a field. Libby is in front, she’s wearing navy plaid and a grey sweater. She has big, round glasses and a pink lipstick. Ryan is standing behind her, he’s wearing a white button down shirt with black bird illustrations all over it. He’s wearing square glasses. Both are smiling.

Also, Ryan and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. When we were thinking about how on earth we wanted to celebrate, we considered a fancy date or a trip but when it came down to it, we really just wanted to spend time with our friends (which seems like such an impossible task once you’re all in/ near your thirties). So a few of us met up at the park. We grilled burgers and let the kids play. It was really such a dream. And we didn’t get any photos because in true, Libby fashion, I never remember to take photos when I’m having fun. That’s why my camera roll is full of pics of latte art. Anyway, happy anniversary Ryan. This past year has been more together-making than any, before. ❤

Here are some other things that happened in May:

The NYT covered Why You Should Stop Being So Hard On Yourself. So, that’s solved. But for real, let’s make “self compassion” our mantra this summer.

I’ve been wanting to up my skincare game recently but for real, I can’t really afford to just try everything out (and I don’t live close enough to a Sephora to ask for samples, as per direction of the Forever 35 podcast). So, I restarted my Birchbox subscription. My first box is in the mail right now and I can’t wait to see what’s in it. If you want to sign up, too, here’s my referral link!

This article by Roxane Gay had me stuck in some very real, big feelings for a long time this month. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It broke my heart in a lot of ways but a lot of things felt so similar to me. When Roxane Gay talks about her decision to get weight reduction surgery, I can’t help but see the reasons that she lists… none of them are because she thinks it will help her to feel better in her body. It’s because she’s so tired of what the world has done to her. And that’s… man. It hurts. And it’s so real. I’m glad she’s doing something that feels the most right for her. I’m broken hearted at the world we’ve created where a fat, black, queer woman is forced to slice herself in order to hope to be treated like a human.

Friend of the blog, Staci, has been killing it over on The Voyageer. I loved this piece that she wrote about managing group travel. The reason I love this is because I dream of going on vacay with all my besties.

I grabbed this box of note cards and I LOVE THEM! They’re full of bright, neon colors and they’re weird? But still, like, exactly right. Thank you cards, birthday cards, no reason at all cards. I’ve been popping them in with every order I’ve sent out this month. [affiliate]

Image description: an abstract paintin in purples and pinks. Some bits look like they could be ferns but there are also water splotches and paint running down the page.

Speaking of orders I’ve sent out, here’s a link to my shop and through the whole month of May and for a few weeks in April I was donating a portion of my sales to End The Backlog. I wrote a whole post about it. At the time of this writing, I’m still not sure exactly how much I sold during the month of May because I have some pieces still on display in Hutchinson but as soon as I know how much we’ll be donating, I’ll post that number on Facebook and Instagram.

For the first week of JUNE, 15% of all sales in my shop will be sent to The Trevor Project. Which helps to provide aid in crisis situations for LGBTQ+ youth. And, because of that, there’s a going to be a brand new crop of new merchandise in there! I sold out of postcard packs last time so if you see something you like, act fast!

I’m doing an elimination plan right now to learn about how different foods are affecting my chronic illnesses (I might talk about it here on the blog but I might not, too). But as soon as I have the go-ahead, I’m making this batch of Granola Cookies from Tracy.

It’s summer time and it’s hot and all I want is light colors and flowy dresses. Like this one from Eshakti! It’s so pretty. And since with Eshakti, you can customize before you buy, I think I’d take the arms off of this one. Oh!! Or this seersucker skirt. Yeah, I need that. [affiliate]

Also, in the summertime all I want is watermelon, pineapple, and fat, mildly overripe tomatoes off the vine. I don’t have a link for that, I just needed to tell you.

Other places you can find me on the internet:

I was interviewed by a super cool site called As Told By Women! Go check out my interview, right here Q & A With Libby Monaghan. It was so fun. Women empowering women is a topic I could definitely will talk about forever and always.

I was also featured in The Hutch News where I did an interview with Jennifer Randall and got to talk all about my art! Click here to go read that one.

Follow along on Instagram. I’m @realxoxolib. I joined the @fatgirlflowfam account! So, every Friday I’m over there reposting cool content from the #fatgirlflow community! It’s so, so fun.

Join the private Facebook group, The Cove: An XOXO, Lib Community.  It’s a space for women, femmes, nb folx, etc. to have a safe space to get to know each other, build one another up, and maybe just talk about certain topics that you might not don’t want to get into on a more public page.

What happened for you in May? Did you learn anything? Have a cool life event or milestone? I want to hear all about it!




Two Years Married But There’s So Much More

September of 2011:
We’d been doing this back and forth with, “I like you, do you like me?” for most of the summer. To make a very long story deceptively short, one day, he came to my apartment in the middle of the day and told me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend. I could feel a pair of invisible hands on my shoulders holding me–as if to say “I know this feels like a perfectly ordinary day but everything is changing right now so let this sink in.” I took my time. I listened to every word he said. I was cautious with the words I said as I was telling him “of course”. Band of Horses was playing in the background and I still feel a pull in my heart when I hear Marry Song.

Our first photo together. In Manhattan after my first I Heard a Lion (technically, Royal) show. Drinking a cocktail from a fishbowl with our friends.

There was nothing hasty in our deciding to team up–any one of our friends can tell you that. But I’m glad that it took so long. If there was one thing that I knew about Ryan by then, it was that he never did anything that he didn’t really want to do. He doesn’t exactly bend to obligation very easily. And while, at times, that can be challenging–in our early days, this knowledge was my savior.

Summer of 2013:
We started moving all of his stuff into my apartment. We were lucky to meet and fall in love while living as neighbors. It’s a lot easier to move in, that way.
We didn’t have a porch, but we did have a rickety, old, wooden staircase that made everyone except for us nervous. He’d make us gin and tonics and sit behind me on the steps and kiss the top of my head.

I used to hate summer time. I’d melt and whine and complain in the dry, hot winds of Kansas. But something about loving Ryan made me really enjoy the way it felt to experience my body in the summertime. I didn’t run away from it–the way it looked, the way that it operated, the way that it would sweat. I just started wearing shorts and tank tops and moving around in the heat. Ryan made me love summer–which is great because now I love all of the seasons and there’s no part of the year that I despise. Ryan made me love every single day.

Spring 2014:
We started talking about how maybe we’d want to get married. One day he suggested that we go to Wichita and go look for a ring at antique stores. We both, erroneously, thought this would be a good idea. It wasn’t. It was overwhelming and fruitless. And I had a panic attack on the way there because of the reality of it all. The pressure was strong. He just pulled the car over and held my hand and told me how much he adored me and we can buy a ring today or not buy a ring today and either way it didn’t matter because we’re together forever no matter what anyway.
We didn’t get a ring. But I did learn something about myself–turns out I did want a diamond after all. I thought I could be this cool girl with a pearl or a ruby or something. But the minute there was a sparkly diamond on my hand I was like, “Oh wait! Look at that! I didn’t actually know myself at all. I want one of these!”
A few days later, I mentioned that we could try shopping for rings again sometime and he was all, “Oh, actually…” So I didn’t press it, understanding he’d bought one in secret.

10388655_688784819169_7769206929358220230_nBut guess what. A few months afterward, he still hadn’t proposed. Have you ever been in this situation? When you know that your person is going to propose but they haven’t yet and every time you have a vaguely romantic moment you get yourself all amped up, like, “This is it!” followed by, “Oh… maybe this wasn’t it?” It’s exhausting!

Finally, one night during dinner time and I just told him how hard it is to be in this position. I just would love it if he’d just put me out of my misery. He argued–saying that he needed a beautiful, romantic, grand gesture. He just needed to think of something. I explained that while I appreciated that, I’m not really a grand gesture type of person. I think everyday life is the most romantic. By now we were not quite fighting–I wouldn’t let it go that far because I was already feeling like quite an asshole for bringing up the subject in the first place. He wasn’t believing me.
“You’re telling me,” he said, “that you would want me to just pop down on one knee, one day, and propose to you right here in the living room?!”
“Yes! Oh my God, that would be the greatest! I would love that.”
“So you’re telling me,” he nearly shouted at me, “that you want me to walk over here to this little drawer…”
Me: *confused face*
“and open it and pull out this little ring box…”
Me: *shocked and confused face, still holding my dinner plate btw*
“and open it and tell you how much I love you and ask you to marry me?”
“Um… yes? I would like it if you would do that.”
“Will you marry me?”
“Are we doing this right now?”
“Are we really doing this right now as I hold a plate of chicken fried steak?!”
“Yeah.” He looked so happy and he was tearing up so I knew this wasn’t a cruel joke. “Will you marry me?”

May 16, 2015:
It rained all that week and all day and our plans for an all-day, outdoor, music-festival/ yard-game wedding were basically ruined. It’s taken two years but I’m finally past the bitterness of not getting the wedding I’d planned. I can see it for what it was–adaptation. Insanely romantic adaptation. What ended up happening was that we got married very quickly under a tent that was flooding, ate very quickly under a tent that was flooding, and everyone left very quickly from under the tent that had flooded because their cars were all getting stuck in the mud.
In the end, it wasn’t really that bad because we got all that we wanted. We got married. We walked one another down the aisle to a really beautiful Copeland song. We had our families and our best friends all around. We had my mom’s cinnamon rolls. More than anything else–I still can’t believe that we had friends who stuck around afterwards and cleaned it all up for us. This is the part that still gets me choked up when I think about it. All that hard work. In a thunderstorm.

Thank you for walking me down the aisle.

We didn’t take a proper honeymoon–which was one of the smartest decisions we made, I think. We got a beautiful hotel in Wichita and slept for three days and two nights. We arrived in our soaked wedding clothes. I felt like a child in a costume. The next morning, I woke up and wrote down everything I could possibly remember about our wedding day. I wrote 15 pages, taking note of every single tiny detail I could possibly remember.

Ryan… it feels like you came up to my apartment just last week. But at the same time, it feels like you married me a century ago. It’s forever and it’s hardly any time at all. I don’t know how we keep making it through in this bizarre time warp but I’ll go through every single twist and turn if it means that I get to hold onto your sturdy hands throughout it all.
I love you.

Our latest selfie, at Noffy’s Pub.

A Generous Heart: New Orleans and Marriage

We got home, dropped our bags, and collapsed onto the couch in a bit of a heap. We invited the cat up for snuggles and ached with the bizarre feeling that comes from sitting in a car for 14 hours—stopping only to use the restroom, eat frozen yogurt, and find a Motel 6. Why is it so exhausting to sit still for such a long time in the car?
We were starving and dreaming up all the things we wanted to eat for dinner now that we were finally home. The last homemade meal we’d had was prepared by our niece, Genesis. She made us tacos and they were extra delicious and made with love and pride.
Right now, everything sounded delicious and everything sounded too hard. But we went to the store and kept reminding one another that we’re still on vacation. We’re still on vacation so we are allowed to go overboard on cheese. We’re still on vacation so we’re allowed smushy, lovey-dovey PDA. We’re still on vacation so grab a bag of gummy bears and a six-pack of IPAs. We’re still on vacation, so let’s sit here at the dining room table and keep listening to this audiobook that we’ve become obsessed with.
Continue reading “A Generous Heart: New Orleans and Marriage”