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!

Two Years, Two Heartbeats…

…it’s all the same.

In just 3 days, it will be the two year anniversary of your death. Two years is a long time, but in this case it still feels like two heartbeats – if that – that I lost you.

And just like that day that you were simply gone, I’m still addressing everything to you, still waiting for a response.

Of course I’m not the only one who lost you. We all did. I think about the others who lost you often. What their hearts must have felt like. Is grief just grief or does each person bear their own brand of grief? Each one of us had a different story that tied to yours, so does that mean we each get our own grief? In that case, are we alone? Surely not right?

Did it rain that night? Was it pouring on me as I moved quickly down the partly lit streets to find comfort in Molly’s? Or am I remembering one of the countless times I ran through the rain just to pop in and say hi? I don’t really remember many details about that day, but I remember, whether it was raining or not, that my heart was beating too loudly, to strong and too unevenly as I still reeled and walked in dry-eyed and polite as I walked past Molly’s family only to sit down on her bed, rub my eyes, and curl into her for the onslaught of tears.

With every ounce of honesty in me, I can tell you that life changed for me that day. You had affected me too much for me to not constantly compare my relationship with you to everyone else around me. You always were and always will be everyone’s Golden Boy, and no one shines as brightly to this day.

Don’t let this letter deceive you. Really, I’ve been doing well. The sadness isn’t as cloying or ever-present. I’m not always dwelling on the grief, but once in a while it does get the best of me. And when the sadness and pain and grief clear away, I’m so grateful for all the happy moments that we shared; for the quiet, radiating love in everything that you did and still do for me every time something or someone reminds me of you.


the aly to your jack

A New Sunrise

I’m really bad at writing my posts and publishing them. I’m trying to write a new one right now and I sometimes feel like I can’t say exactly what I want to say. Other times, as I write and I’m overwhelmed, unfinished or not, as soon as the words start coming out -even if no one ever hears or reads them- I feel calmer and end up never finishing or posting the drafts. So, more often than not, the things I write end up being forgotten drafts. I stumbled on this one tonight and thought back to when it was originally written and what was going on in my life at that time. I was working at my old job that was not giving me as much as it was taking from me. I was desperate and tired and worried about my future. Although this point in my life has passed, I think it’s important to remember because you forget how bad (or how good, but in this case bad) things had gotten. So bad that you are surprised when something good happens. So from now on, as I go back through old drafts, I will periodically publish them, finished or not, to leave a record of how I existed at one point in time. Published 07/08/2016 – Drafted 04/21/2015 West Valley City, Utah

When I started this blog, I was so enthralled by the idea that my life wasn’t a single dot in an expanse of humanity. My life is, in fact, tethered to other people’s lives for reasons that will sometimes be apparent, and at other times not quite as clear. It was this single obsessive thought that hounded  me. So much so that I’ve created a blog centered around that one amazing idea that at any given moment in your life you are never alone.

This morning I was reminded of that.

I woke up feeling a little despondent and a little bit like life had taken me to the top of a tower with a beautiful sunset overlook and as the sun retracted its light from the earth, pushed me over and smiled smugly as I went careening into all my dark and lonely thoughts.

The feelings of doubt that I somehow keep at bay every day were wanting to come out and play. The thought of facing my stagnant and monotonous life was glaringly painful and I dragged as I struggled to get ready. I tried to play the TV in the background, then I tried music, then I checked my Instagram, my Twitter, my Facebook… the whole time subconsciously hoping that I would stumble upon something that helped motivate my day.

Gray Area, Singular

I don’t know how to start this but perhaps I should start by setting minds at ease. No, I don’t have cancer or other lesser known incurable illnesses, and yes, there’s something I can still do about it.

I had a doctor’s appointment today and beforehand I was super worked up and this time not the general “I hate doctor’s and doctor’s offices” kind of anxiety. I had been feeling off for a while now and suspected that I could possibly have diabetes and today that was confirmed. Well… sort of. My doctor called it a “gray area” because some doctors say that at this point a patient would definitely be diabetic, while other doctors — including mine — say that we are not quiiiteee diabetic but are “pre-diabetic.”*

Let me back it up a little bit. As a Pacific Islander, my risk of diabetes is higher, and I have a history of diabetes in my family. (Needless to say, I always hate when people who are about to chow down on something too sugary/unhealthy joke that they are having diabetes for dessert.) Today, we took an initial first test and while that got whisked off, my doctor and I were having our usual chat/check-up when another lady pops her head in and tells my doctor a number. We stopped talking about whatever it was we were talking about and my doctor says that I am “pre-diabetic.” There’s not much that I know about these things so I’m confused about the numbers at first, but those words put it into perspective.

It’s like they say, it’s one thing to know and another to hear it said out loud. This doesn’t change your life in any way, but it does mine. Using numbers, I can tell you that I am .2%* away from the official diagnoses for diabetes. Using words, my doctor said that I need to “Act like I’m diabetic. Eat like I’m diabetic, exercise like I’m diabetic, live like I’m diabetic.”

That’s for sure going to be hard. And so far, this post is the first that I’ve said about any of this, other than to my family. I’m not super psyched about being so public about it, but I wanted to make this an opportunity to make it known in some capacity so I would feel even more accountable to good behavior on my part and really living life like I am diabetic. Someone very close to me said that at one point they were told that they were “pre-diabetic” and that they were in denial about it for so long because they “didn’t want to have diabetes” and never did anything about it and now their numbers are off the charts. So far, I’m doing okay. The nurse brought in the diabetes kit and my doctor sent it away so I didn’t come home with one today. What this means for me though is a change of lifestyle and for sure, a kick in the behind.

Not coming home with a kit almost felt really great. It means that they’re not seeing proteins where there shouldn’t be proteins or any damage to any organs in my body. I said it “almost” felt really great because there’s still a lot I have to do on my end to really feel great about not having the kit. I’ve been prescribed diabetes school (which I didn’t realize existed) and sent home with lots of handouts on measures I need to be taking to make sure I don’t have to come home with that kit.

I’ve already starting making some of those changes this very evening and made this post to acknowledge and put to words what perhaps my mind can’t/won’t comprehend. Life changes are good sometimes and changing my lifestyle to combat diabetes is one of them if I make sure to stick to it.

This is as far as the gray area goes. What I do to make sure I’m in the clear is now black or white.

Thanks to those of you still reading my blog and keeping up with my sporadic posts. For those that know me and that read my blog, sorry I won’t necessarily get the chance to chat with each of you personally about this (or any other post for that matter) and I appreciate your discretion and sensitivity to the fact that I might not want to talk about these things in person/all the time.

*terms and stats are as accurate as they were described to me by my healthcare provider.

Love, Man

{I will post the funnier side of the doctor’s appointment at some point so we (and by we I mean I) are not so bogged down by heavier matters.}

First Chances

I’m starting to do a little photography for people. I’m not a professional by any means. I just have a pretty decent camera and I’m taking pictures for people and using it as practice. 

On Sunday I did a little shoot with an 8 yr old boy for baptismal announcements and I am still beyond nervous about the pictures!

There are already things that I know I will improve for next time! 

Other than that, I’m pretty stoked about this opportunity and for people being so wonderful and for thinking of asking me even though they know I’m just getting to know photography! 

First chances – they might even be more exciting than second chances! 


Hands. She felt hands. Hands that were covered with satin gloves. She felt them on her shoulders, gently guiding and pushing her forward in the dark. 

Her feet, shod only in mismatched socks, padded gently and hesitantly across the wooden floor. She stepped carefully, each time expecting a precipice from which she might tumble. So far, there wasn’t an edge or a cliff in this darkness, only the occasional squeak. Wherever she was, it was old. 

The hands never wavered and there was never a voice to accompany them. Aside from the squeaks, this journey was a silent one. 

The hands press down firmly on her shoulders, making her stop. Finally a voice spoke. “Up,” it said simply, and she noticed a tall stool in front of her. At some point a dim light had come on and illuminated this red stool. How had she not noticed? Were her eyes closed the whole time, or was there really all that darkness she walked though with the mysterious guide at her back? Her thoughts were only faint and she didn’t have the energy to care about an answer. She got on the stool, pulled her knees close, and sat there waiting, now alone, for something to happen. 

She didn’t have to wait long in her solitary spotlight; as dim as it was, it was so much brighter than the surrounding darkness. The first thing that happened was she heard a sound. She closed her eyes and listened to the sound. A scraping and scuffing of shoes. A person was approaching and she didn’t care who it was. She had lost all sense of herself anyway, why would someone coming toward her shell matter anyway?

The sound stopped and a spotlight clicked on, illuminating a young man. She hardly noticed because her eyes were still closed. He cleared his throat and that’s when she opened her eyes and her gaze focused on him. Her recognition was instant. Tom.  She squeezed her knees closer as her heart started pounding, the first active sign of life she had felt in a long time. 

Tom started speaking, slowly and quietly at first, then grew in volume and confidence. He started by saying her name; the same way he used to say it when they would lie in the grass, shaded by leaning shadows of evening light on the side of the red brick house, the lilacs scenting the air. Then he apologized. The very same Tom who had grown distant was now apologizing, the first time she had ever heard such a thing. He apologized for not being ready and asking to marry her anyway. For marrying her for the wrong reasons; a modern day, one-sided marriage of convenience. For not loving her enough. For not being brave enough to let her go until it he had taken years off her life. He apologized for leaving, and for loving her but not quite loving her enough to care to stay and care for her. Then Tom was finally silent. 

She had loosened her grip in her knees some, and now felt her heart slowly beating. 

Before she could say anything, another spotlight appeared on the opposite side of the room-no, the stage, for she could now tell where she was. This time, standing in the pool of light was her sister, Vera. She, too, called her name, “Aviva.” She told her she loved her. She had never meant to push her away all those years Aviva was younger. She said she had felt too lost to help her younger sister find her way too. She realized now, it would’ve been easier on them both if she had let Aviva in as they learned about life. Two separate saplings leaning and twining together. Only growing stronger and stronger as the winds shook their young lives. Finally, she ceased speaking. 

Aviva, for that was her name, let her legs down but transferred her tense grip from around her knees to the stool.

Like before, another spotlight appeared, yet again in a different location on the stage. Nell. Her mother, although she couldn’t recall ever calling her “mother or mama.” “My baby,” her mother began, again, not a term she recalled hearing in her childhood. “I’m so sorry baby. I was never there. You deserved my care at the least, if not my love.” She went on for a while, apologizing, almost begging for forgiveness. She finally ended with “I loved you and I still love you, more than I ever showed you.” 

Aviva’s hands were now loosely clasped in her lap. Every spoken word was a release from a the darkness inside her. 

Aviva’s mother stopped speaking, with both her hands placed over her heart. 

As soon as she stopped, another spotlight came on, another monologue followed. Then another spotlight, and another, and another. People who had been closely associated with Aviva her whole life. One by one, words were spoken aloud that had previously been quieted and hidden away. It made no sense. She had felt wronged and neglected by these people all her life, yet with each word, her shoulders lifted, her eyes widened, and the hardness that had consumed her heart progressively throughout her life, softened. As each person spoke, the stage brightened and Aviva was surrounded by people who wanted to pull her out of her despondency. 

The words they had never said were finally being heard. 

A Birthday Post & A World of Love

This is going to be cheesy, and I’m totally okay with that.

I woke straight up this morning with one singular and clear thought in my head: It’s your birthday. I’m telling you, I bolted upright in bed in the nightmare kind of way. Except, you know, with the opposite of dread.

For a small town girl, you’ve definitely touched my life and the life of so many others in this big ol’ world.

Thank you.

For always always being willing to indulge my complaints.

For always squealing with me over fictional characters.

For always telling me that my fears and worries aren’t pointless.

For loving me and all my faults.

Somehow I feel like we are the embodiment of “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” and I’m so happy we have only grown closer as the miles stretched farther.

I love you so much and I wish you a world that’s full of love on this special day!

Happy Birthday to you and to Dr. Seuss!

“LISTEN,” you scream.

“Listen,” your voice now a pleading whisper. “This struggle? I can save you from it. I’ve fought this same beast. It’s scary, I know. My battle is now over and I’m here at the top of this hill I’ve conquered. All I can see turning back, is you, blindly throwing your arms at this enemy. I’ll guide you past my pitfalls, carefully circumventing your direction. Trust me, and listen. It’ll save your heart from bleeding too.”