All posts by maniessera

I've always had trouble with "About me" sections. What am I supposed to say? I suppose I've never liked the way it felt like a "tell us all your accolades!" type of situation. However, I can say that I am new to life, but it feels as though life and I have known each other for a long time. I love the ocean, the stars, the moon, the sky. I have this wonderfully crippling capacity to love. I love that I have so much love to give, but I have to say that I do have moments when empathy gets really hard, and I wish I was a little more distant. Luckily though, I can naturally gravitate toward loving again!

Breathless

Lately I’ve felt so emotionally vulnerable and quite frankly volatile.

 It’s not a feeling I like…

I don’t like that at any moment, my breath leaves my body and I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s like to breathe. I can’t stand being in public when the tears threaten and my mind just wanders aimlessly to the point of exhaustion. 

Life is ever flowing and constant. If only I could flow continuously and flow past these moments that make me not feel like me. Such is humanity I guess: Always reacting to the human condition.

Where the Pathway Ends

I’ve been thinking. Maybe a little too much thinking, but I’ve been thinking. I’ve been thinking about pasts and futures and changes too. It is such a crazy thing to look at someone and only know them for your current associations that it’s easy to forget that, like you, they have a history. A person they used to be and a person they are now based on the past. The people they knew, the places the soles of their feet have touched and made marks on. It’s crazy too to think about a future. A future that is largely unknown and yet we get up every day step forward into it. My sister and I were out exploring nature and she took a picture of me walking along a path that’s made of wooden boards that goes for a while and then just ends. I looked at that picture again today and realized how symbolic it is of life. We live in the now with what we know and we wake up every day a little further along in yesterday’s future. We plan and dream and struggle and survive as best we can for a future that we hope we know. At the end of the day, we don’t really know what will be next. An entire life, reality, dream, hope, plan can change in a matter of seconds. Even the things we were certain would never change, can change too. Relationships change gradually, goals shift sometimes… You can stand there and look back at the boardwalk behind you, at the past, and see how it lead you to where you are, but we won’t ever fully be able to look ahead and see everything; see exactly how exactly the path will continue. 

A Little Universe Therapy

Hello Universe! It’s been a while but right now, at 1:30 AM, it feels like the right time to write another post. Doggone you inspiration and desire-to-write! Why not choose a better time in the day?! Ohh. Right. There is no better time! February has been such an incredibly busy month and we’re only a week in! It feels even more hectic because it’s one of those months where our brains are wired to go “holidays passed, the first month of the year crazies have happened, so February is the month to ease into the new year!” Well, maybe that’s just my train of thought, but all the same, the reality of February is especially garish compared to the dreamy montage I had in mind where we calmly and romantically sauntered into spring and the possibilities of the new year.

Airhorn blast

Okay, thanks, I needed that wake-up call. I don’t even want to think about what’s lined up the rest of the month but I do have to because there’s a certain level of planning and anticipation that we all need to devote to certain aspects of our lives and schedules for them to even happen. Just being real here. My sisters and I dance hula at gigs here and there and we have a few this month, I have people coming into town, a trainer I’m paying for that I need to make sure I’m prioritizing my workouts when we don’t have our sessions, rehearsals, assessments, reading assignments, teaching for my church calling. I’m working on expanding my small business and I’m trying to iron out all the business and creative logistics of that, it’s an incredibly important month for stats at my day job, I’m wanting to spend time with my friends, take some time to follow-up on some long term goals of mine… I haven’t even talked about the regular day to day things like meal planning, laundry, etc.

Gah! As stressful as that was, hashing out all those things and confronting my to-do list is actually therapeutic. I’m the kind of person that needs to know what is going on and what the next steps are so I can keep this wagon moving in the right direction. I set things up on a timeline and I work on what’s going on now, set a skeleton plan for the rest, and wait until I get there to execute the plan. Great? Crazy? A little bit of both? Yeah, I’m not sure exactly what category my energy and time management skills fall under but all I know is I take it one day at a time and I’ll sure be needing your prayers and a really nice calendar or agenda book! (Also ice cream won’t hurt! Wink, wink!)

Thank you for being such a good listener, Universe!

I’m off to share my thoughts to my Heavenly Father in prayer, and then to my pillow too!

Fight or Flight?

Fight or flight is a real thing. When it comes down to it, I like to think that when it matters, I stay and I fight. I fight for my family, I fight for friends, I fight in situations when I have to be level headed, I fight to get things done.

However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I choose flight. Mostly I choose flight when it comes to things that seemingly only concern and affect me. It must be the same for many, if not all of us, as members of this imperfect human race. I can’t help but think as I consider upcoming days and events that I’m already feeling the anxiety, the panic and wonder if this time I will lean towards flight.

I feel as though sometimes life is like a speedway. I remember the first race I went to. An hour drive out of state, a chilly night spent sitting on cold seats with the chill seeping through my clothes, and so much noise! You could barely hear yourself think let alone speak, and it was absolutely exhilarating! Fast cars, dust, and a boisterous crowd all focused on the speed and continuously steering to the left. It sounds funny now that I think about it but I could definitely see why people liked to come and feed off the energy and just have a good time. The only change now is that I’m thinking of those races differently. I’m picturing myself starring in this nightmare of a scene, pulled from the benches and forced into a car and told to just go. No training, no warning that this was going to happen, no nothing. And boom. There I am in the driver’s seat forced to make the drive, bearing left and left and left and left… at stomach-churning high speeds. Trying to control myself, trying to not hit others, trying to get out of this alive.

Certainly a lot of things in life are consequences – good and bad – of our actions, and we know some outcomes as we go into the decisions. Other things are thrown at us and we’ve had to wing it and just fight to survive the speed. The crowd on the side can watch and cheer or call for our downfall, but regardless of the spectators, this is something you have to experience firsthand. And while sitting on the sidelines has a certain kind of rush, it’s nothing compared to the combined fear and euphoria of our own personal races on the track. Nothing will compare to your feelings as you sit in that driver’s seat fighting and wondering how to best survive the situation. Wondering when will the race end, what had you done to deserve this, when will you be safe, where was the “opt out” button, hoping that you won’t spin out, and hoping that the occasional jaws-of-life scenes you saw as a spectator wouldn’t apply to you.

Sitting here, chewing my nails, worrying about certain things in my future, I start to the feel the flight urge. Sometimes, you’re forced into the driver’s seat with no warning. Other times, you will inexplicably know it’s coming, especially if it’s happened to you before. So I sit here and contemplate whether to tap into my bank account and book a flight somewhere I’ve never been. No ties, no associations; a nameless stranger on unfamiliar paths. I’ll be choosing my own consequences, I think to myself. I’ll spare myself this part of the anxiety. I get the chance to walk away. “Unscathed” is the word I think of, but I know whatever I decide, there are always consequences. I can’t sit here and write that in this case, I’ve chosen one of the other. I can’t piously allude to not choosing flight. But I also can’t rule out my chances for the fight. In some ways I guess that’s what the phrase means anyway. When it comes down to the moment, will it be fight or will it be flight?

As for this idea that I mostly fight when it concerns the welfare of others, maybe I should start fighting for myself too.

Photo by John Westrock

A Heart Found in Full Circle

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~Helen Keller

Here’s a quote to serve as food for thought.

Picture this… Tonight I watched The Little Mermaid, live theater, via beautifully set central staging, or theater-in-the-round. Seated in front and slightly to my right was this young boy. He’s probably between the ages of 12 and 15. I had noticed him come in and take his seat, but for the most part didn’t notice him much until my two girl friends pointed him out just as the show was about to start. His excitement was very plain. He was clapping and grinning. Surely you haven’t known the definition of “grinning from ear to ear” until you’ve seen this boy. His reaction at first was downright commical. He reacted to everything! The fog machine starting, the lights lowering. He even raised his arms and started conducting the prelude.

He didn’t get any calmer during the show! He was entertained by the show details as much as I was entertained by him, and something about him stuck with me. Something about the pure joy and unrelenting happiness called to the deepest and darkest part of my heart.

Not that I knew. I came home as the sun was setting, crawled out of my fancy “I’m not just going down to the gas station to return my Redbox DVD” clothes in the dark of my room, and went surfing online. That’s routine these days. I’m not wallowing. I don’t want to call it that because I don’t know what there is to wallow about. My life is pretty much great, so using that word is unjustified. So I’m lying there, “not-wallowing,” scrolling through countless articles, statuses, location tags, trending hashtags, and I stumble upon this article. There’s a pretty picture and a vague enough title that would suggest it applies to me and my life.

“Why Finding Yourself Doesn’t Mean Hurting Yourself.” The article wasn’t quite what I was expecting so at first I just started skimming. There were no bullet points accompanied by relevant GIFs, witty captions under said GIFs…. Whatever, I’m about to give up on the article when I see the words:

“We imagined that hurting made us clean and that aching made us pure, and we thought that the only way to find ourselves was to do it on our own. …

There is nothing magical about being haunted, and there is nothing beautiful about being sad; in fact, the only sweet things about sadness is that it may end. …

When you are older, you will have faced enough adversity to have earned battle scars without looking for them. Challenges don’t make you stronger or more mature if you wallow in the limbo that is not overcoming them, and often, there is a strong support system of people who will help you get through the tough times. Don’t turn away from them; they are part of the fine line between what constitutes feeling lonely and being alone, and the latter is an experience that no one should have to suffer through.

It is okay to be sad; every emotion has it’s purpose. But if looking for company means looking for those more miserable than yourself, remember that they will only be there on those bad days, feeding you a bleakness that you don’t need. You need to turn on the lights, open your door, and head downstairs to talk to the people who can celebrate you in your happiness and your spontaneity and your life; not just in your sadness.”

It was after reading these words that I realized why that little boy stuck with me. I wanted his joy. I wanted his unabashed love for life and the moment he was in. I wanted to borrow even an ounce of his pure heart, because the aching doesn’t make me pure. It’s the beauty of light and the lightness of bliss that makes my heart pure and strong and true.

We’ve now come full circle, back to the Helen Keller quote:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~Helen Keller

Give me back my heart, world. Give me back my heart, emptiness. Give me back my heart, sadness.

Give me back my heart, me.

I’m feeling blind and deaf and want to be given the opportunity to find the best and most beautiful things again.

Give. Get. Grow.

There’s this profound thought. The thought that there are people who just give and give and never expect anything in return. These people are mothers, they’re fathers, sisters, best friends, crazy aunts, godfathers, they’re everywhere in this world. The thing about this thought is that there needs to be reciprocation. Everything in this world has a good and a bad; there’s heads and there’s tails. The sun has night and the cold has warmth. There’s give and give back, and sometimes these people who give and give will need to get in return.

There’s this mother that I only know in passing. She doesn’t even speak English and I have never really carried on a conversation with her, but I know she’s her children’s world. The children no longer have their father, so she’s become even more critical to their lives. She is one who gives and gives and never expects anything back. Her family has come upon hardships and it looks like she will be separated from her children. I know what it feels like to be separated from my parents, but these children will not get the opportunity to really see their mother again. I had my sister send one of her daughters a message because they’re friends, and offered to do family portraits for them so they can have this one small memento. It is one small thing that I can do to give.

Turn around. These people who have been propelling you and I forward need people to turn around and grab their hands. Pull them into an embrace and pull them along with us. Be it from our own propulsion or from the momentum they have created for us, they deserve to get some “give” in their lives. There will also be times when people seemingly unrelated to your success or journey will look like they need help. Give to them. Not only will they have been given the opportunity for someone to cheer them on, you will be given the opportunity to grow from it too.

Happy Birthday, Ulu!!

Ulu is one of the people that my blog was created for even though I didn’t know it at the time that this blog was created. When I created this blog I started with the foundation that people can affect you negatively or positively and it would still influence you to become who you are today. I’m glad to say that Ulu is one person who has positively influenced me.

For the longest time, Ulu and I thought that one hated the other and only in my last couple of months working at the bakery did we really get to know each other. Of course we were both like “I thought you hated me!” so we wasted all that time not being friends when we could’ve been.

In the short time that I’ve known Ulu, I’ve realized how similar we are and I didn’t feel like quite an anomaly. Ulu’s quick wit and joking manner has set me at ease even though most of the time I feel like she’s making fun of me.

Thanks for being willing to be my friend, Ulu. I don’t know many people whose heart is truer than yours. Even though you don’t show it, I know that you’re so full of love; the fierce kind of love that will always fight for the people you care for. I want you to know that you have been a great example to me and have encouraged in not only my relationships with other people, but also my testimony of the Gospel.

Even though we no longer work together, I plan on keeping in contact with you and becoming even greater friends. There are many nights of long-boarding, swimming, and jamming ahead of us! I love you Ulu!

Okay we can go back to not being sappy now. 😉