© 2019 by Ashley Smith & Milagro Midwestern Spa Collective

  • Ashley

You can call me Judith, I guess?

For the last few years, for about five minutes every morning, I answer to the name Judith.


Since we moved to our neighborhood, I stop for my daily coffee at the Starbucks inside my Hen House. Don't hate, local coffee snobs. I like their iced coffee and I nearly always need something from Hen House anyway. It's convenient and the baristas know me. I'm at peace with my coffee choice.


But I should clarify "the baristas know me". This Starbucks uses your Hen House rewards card to track your purchases. And since I had a Hen House card a million years ago but no one can figure out which old phone number it's affiliated with, I've always just given my mom's number. Not usually a problem when I'm buying groceries. But a problem when the baristas go to write my name on my cup and call it out when my drink is ready. "Judith?" Yep, that's me. 



So this has been going on for years (yup, years) now and how in the world could I ever fess up now? I would be the weirdo that answered to the wrong name. FOR YEARS.


I never actually *told them* my name was Judith. It was just assumed by mistake and I never spoke up to correct it.

 

This feeling of misunderstood identity has, in some ways, been a familiar one since we transformed from Natural Body Spa & Shop six years ago into Milagro. We have slowly evolved to create our own identity, but remnants of that past life linger. And it's often difficult to know how and when to speak up and kindly correct.


The loads of emails I get from sales folks telling me I need to be offering microblading and hydrofacials and maybe injectables and cryotherapy and cbd oil and probably this line and this line and also these ten other lines of the newest, buzziest products...

Sorry, you have us mistaken for someone we're not.


But under eye cream and wrinkle fighters and hair removal and "clean" makeup...

Nope. Again, not what we do.


In 2016 when I sabbatical-ed (new word) to truly nail down exactly what it is we do here at Milagro, I listened to some of our most loyal Milagrans about what desperate need we fill for them. That's when I wrote our guiding mantra...



And since then, everything we do (and don't do) is determined by how it squares with those words. If it doesn't help Milagrans remember who they are and what's important, we don't do it. 


If it makes it easier to stay in touch with who we are and what's important, we're ALL IN.


When cancer changed my life ten years ago, I vowed to begin living differently. Not in an "I'm scared of everything and plan to live in an airtight bubble and white knuckle every piece of life" kind of way, but in an "I'm constantly aware of how amazing my time here is and since I know it could be up at any time, I'd better A) get comfortable with that and B) make it meaningful" kind of way.


I thought that would be difficult in 2009 world. I had no idea how much more difficult it could be in this crazy place we call 2019.




So in our efforts to combat the crazy, we've doubled down on our spa service offerings. Our new menu was designed with one goal in mind: inducing your deepest state of chill. Deepest state of chill is required for remembering who you are and what's important. Biologically, we're talking parasympathetic vs sympathetic, but I like "deepest state of chill".


Everywhere I look, people are talking about feeding our bodies nutritious fuel. Great. 


Everywhere I look, people are talking about moving our bodies for exercise. Awesome.


And everywhere I look, people are anxious and stressed and medicated with actual psychotropic drugs or with alcohol, Netflix binges, or obsessive media scrolling. And everywhere I look, souls of every heartbreaking age are choosing to end their own lives. 


So while I apparently have difficulty voicing easy truths (like my mother effing name), I will not stay quiet about this. If each of you was standing in front of my right now, I would grab you by the cheeks and look you in the eyes and say these words:


(Well, not exactly these words, because these are the words I use for me. But you are more than welcome to do a sort of Self Awareness Mad Libs and plug in your own ego bulls*** as applicable.)


"Stop. Slow down and breathe for one freaking second. You and the people you love are right here, right now, but won't be forever. It could end tonight, tomorrow, next month, or in 500 months. Unknown and out of your control. Fear not. Let go. Sometimes you're a self-centered prick. Try to do that less. Sometimes you're a generous giver. Maybe do that more. You suck at time management and making decisions. So what? You're pretty alright at loving people with food and writing useful words. Do those often. And whatever you do, DO NOT allow other people to tell you who you are and what's important. Both of those things are entirely up to you. FIGURE. THEM. OUT. Then, if you're fortunate (unfortunate?) enough to be coherent in your last moments, you'll meet those moments with a contentment well worth the effort of knowing yourself and remembering what matters. And that seems much more pleasant than wondering why you spent so much time hoping other people thought you were pretty and nice."


Milagro is for this. THIS is who we are. And you are welcome any time you need the space and the reminder.