Not My Cup of Anxie-Tea

I struggle writing a post that teeters on the do-you-really-want-future-employers-and-semi-acquantainces-to-know-this-about-you AND this-is-an-perfectly-acceptable-post, but the subject matter is a stigmatized topic that should be talked about; so, while I risk being judged by a few, I will risk it for the greater reward. After all, it is 2015: the year of “don’t judge me. You’re wrong and I’ll scream.” (You are wrong and I will scream.)

Having struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my teenage years, I was ecstatic to know that I kicked it out of my life for the better part of an entire year but hEY, it’s back just like that one, recurring, unfortunately placed pimple. Yes, hello, anxiety, old friend. I’d rather you didn’t come into my life, entertain me into the wee hours of the morning, and screw up my day’s plans but I’m really thankful for you. You’re like that one annoying friend you can’t stop being friends with because you’ve just been around them too long to say goodbye. Without you, anxiety, I wouldn’t know that what I’m doing is taking me down the path of monotony/unhappiness. So thanks.

With age and experience comes knowing yourself incredibly well. Thanks to a series of less-than-stellar human interactions, I’ve realized I’m so sensitive to slight environmental changes that anxiety is the only way my body and the universe can capture my attention and say, “hey! yeah you! GO DO SOMETHING ELSE BECAUSE THIS ISN’T MAKING YOU HAPPY.” It’s nature’s way of correcting me to find a better balance. It’s time to clean house.

I’m in a transitioning stage right now: 60 days until I graduate college. So what the heck do I do to jump-start the rest of my life? Who will be my friend and who will just be my snapchat friend? Anxiety: It’s foreign because what seemed like a stable and exciting few months have all just made my world a little less bright as of late. After finding and understanding happiness this past year, it’s not desirable slipping away from that feeling and falling deeper into this mud pit. It’s only going to take me in deeper and I need to find the tree branch that pulls me up before I sink. Maybe the salvation lies in a new environment or maybe it’s home–either way, a change needs to be made and quickly.

Knowing how negatively routine affects me, I speak to those struggling with me; do something new, take on a new project(s), explore a different part of the city. Go to the mountains. I’ll take on this challenge with you and climb higher to leave behind the sloping valleys and explore these unknown peaks to keep myself interested, questioning, and passionate about life. It’s funny (and/or exhausting) how much spontaneity and pursuing new heights is something my body craves but this is something you just can’t synthesize. There is no “fake it ’til you make it,” here.

So, life. Surprise me. Take me on a ride with the top down and a map in the back just so it can fly out. Let’s go.

To the stationary person who’s gotten comfortable or who fights to leave the place they’ve known, keep fighting. Just know that on the other side of traveling lies a point where all you want is to come back home.

Childhood Dreams

I was five years old and my eyes were wide with joy. I was five years old and I couldn’t stop staring at the stars. I was six years old and all I read were books about dinosaurs and space. Six years old and I had worn out my copy of Jurassic Park, the novel. Six years old and I watched Jurassic Park every chance I got. Seven years old, I told myself I never wanted to be in space but send people to space. I was going to be an astronomer (or paleontologist) not an astronaut and nothing would stop me. Seventeen years old, I gave up this dream. I sucked at physics and never looked back.

For the majority of my life, I was almost positive that I was going to spend the next sixty years either looking through a telescope working for NASA or digging in the dirt for ancient dinosaur fossils (but space a little more, let’s be real). I read every book I could find, watched all the documentaries, and fell in love with space. It was the final frontier and I wanted to know what lied beyond. I wanted to be involved in some of the most groundbreaking research discovering new planets, galaxies, and life. I’d come home every night, take out my keys to open my door, but stare at the night sky for a few minutes before I’d ever enter my house. I could look up all night.

I don’t do that anymore. I rush inside, I rush outside. I put space documentaries on my Netflix wish list but rarely get to them. I haven’t touched a book on space in years. I’ve forgotten most of my random facts and knowledge of planets, stars, and theories. I don’t even speak with the same passion. Whenever I mention space, it’s not coming from a place of excitement but rather nostalgia, like, “ah, I remember when I was obsessed with space.” But ever since I failed that first physics test, my life changed.

I didn’t understand nor particularly enjoy physics and this scared me to death. I was a junior and I didn’t know what I wanted to major in for college. Me. The person who had been researching colleges since 7th grade. The person who had a life plan for every year until I retired. The person who had been so wrapped up in a childhood dream that I couldn’t face the reality of the situation. But thank god I got there. I didn’t want to make my life miserable with something that didn’t happen naturally or something I had to force, otherwise, I just know the passion would go away. I started looking at what I liked.

Music. It lifted me up, spun me around, and made me fall in love. It gave me chills, tears, and smiles. It gave me some of the best friends I have today. It comforted me when I needed it. But I couldn’t say it was what I wanted to do forever. There was something holding me back. I had an inner dialogue saying “okay, if not music, then what ELSE do you LIKE?”

I’m so glad that that day, a day I remember so clearly, I asked myself what I LIKED. What did I enjoy? What could I see myself doing forever? Watching movies. That’s where it started. I had seen hundreds by that point and was always excited to talk about them. I started wondering what it would be like to make them. Thus began my journey as a film student. I made a decision that day and haven’t looked back.

I tell you this story for a multitude of reasons.

1. I learned that I shouldn’t hold on to a dream just because it’s been there for a while. Because of inertia. Because it’s comfortable. But I should always be looking for something that makes me happy. Because where you’re happy, you’re passionate–and that’s where you will be begin living. I still love space but in a different way.

2. Sometimes you need to let go. It’s fear of the unknown. Space is the same. It’s scary but it brings great things.

3. I’m going to see Interstellar tomorrow and I feel like it’s going to bring me back to childhood and my love of the vastness.

4. I’m bored and wanted to write a blog post.

Why do something you hate? Do it because you’re passionate and love it. Don’t deprive your life of full-on awesomeness. Barney Stinson wouldn’t want that for you either.

“Life is like a banquet and most people are starving.”

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A Life-Changing Summer in California

What started as a marshmallow-filled bonfire night at my friend’s house in New Jersey, turned into the greatest decision I made since going to Sydney, Australia for a few months. Hey. It’s been a while since I’ve written but I’m back. *insert Arnold impersonation [here]* I feel an obligation to share just how amazing of a summer I had and how life post-Sydney ended up being alright after all. This post is filled with life-shattering realizations and other casual stuff.


After a couple weeks home and the perpetual living-out-of-suitcases phase of my life seemed over, I got a job in California and it was time to pack it up all over again. “How” and “what” you may ask? “Well,” I will say. It started like this:

My friend participated in a high-school National Youth Leadership Conference through Lead America a few years ago that he said was both an amazing social and educational experience that changed his life thanks to his team leader. Interested in pursuing other career avenues besides my seasoned experience with the slave-I mean food industry, I decided to see if I could be that person that changes lives. Within ten minutes of hearing about his story, I was on their website (they had just merged with Envision) and applying as quickly as I could. I could not have spent another second serving pina coladas to creepy 60 year old men at a country club, weighing people’s salads, and wearing a yellow t-shirt serving hot dogs and hamburgers at a water park. That yellow t-shirt really put me over the edge. It was time for a change and this was it. Within a couple of days, I had applied, had an interview, and got hired. They were desperate and so was I.

After a 5 day training session at the University of Maryland–College Park, filled with excessive information, “interesting” coworkers (more on that later), and nights out in DC, we were in the airport and ready to fly to California. But not before a few minor airport crisis situations happen. Forget about me almost missing my flight, seeing my soon-to-be dapper dude-friend James throwing out all of his hangers for all the dapper clothes he brought, or watching my soon-to-be-bb Joe stressing about the fact that the airline didn’t have a ticket for him, what I’m really here to tell you is about this 40 year-old lawyer that was also on the program. The weight limit is 50 lbs. He had maybe around 52. While I’m over here figuring out how to distribute the weight of my luggage so I don’t have to pay fees, he’s over there throwing EVERYTHING out of his luggage, taking out 6 bath towels and 9 hand towels and pleading for Joe to take them in his suitcase, and just looking like an overall mess on the floor of this airport. BRUH, YOU WERE TWO POUNDS OVER. So many questions; like, why does one need 15 towels? How many pounds difference do you think 52 to 50 is? Why are you on your knees, distraught and hovering over your suitcase like it’s a family member’s casket?

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This is when the White House security said “MA’AM STEP BACK ON THE CURB IMMEDIATELY.” Some issue of national security or something. pft.

I get to California. Three missed flights later and HE gets to California. He doesn’t last the whole summer and I can only imagine how his trip back home went.

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Somewhere over the Rockies.


Getting back to the point of this post…

I was scared beyond belief the first day. I was going to be a faculty advisor which meant I was in charge of 20-25 high-school scholars and teaching them about business. I’m a film major. I knew absolutely nothing about business prior to this summer. Why, you may ask, did I take a job where I’d be teaching students about business then? Well, it brought me completely out of my comfort zone, onto a plane, and living/working at Stanford University in California for a few months. So why not? I’ll learn and I did. The persistence and dedication that came from me during these sessions was something I never knew existed. I was so devoted to making sure these kids were having the best experience possible and I tried everyday to bring my A-game, even though I was sleeping about 5 hours a night and yelling at the Law program kids for 2 hours a night.

This wasn’t always easy. We ended up working 15-17 hour days with little time when a scholar wasn’t annoying you or you weren’t annoying a scholar. But you learned to love these teenagers and everything they had going for them. I had never acted as a teacher figure before but I felt this overwhelming desire to see nothing but good things happen to these kids. I wanted to change their lives in the best way possible and make sure that they felt more confident and knowledgable leaving this program. They were my family for that week, which felt like an eternity.

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Just some of the many scholars I had from this summer. We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and they were lookin’ so cute!

Now, the people I worked with. I was with the business team but there was also a law team sharing the space with us through the same program. They were classic, stuffy, stereotypical lawyers and we were a fun, charismatic, boisterous assortment of characters. Through all the set-backs, mishaps, and mistakes, our team helped each other out every step of the way and it truly made us feel like family. By the end of the summer, I had grown so close to these group of people that I didn’t know how I would ever do anything without them. We ate together, we laughed together, we even fell asleep in the same common room together! These people were my rocks, my best friends, and my family. Anything I wanted to do, wanted to say, or needed to laugh about, it was with them. Our days off felt weird without them and we’d always be thankful when work started up again so we could see each other once more. We sound truly dysfunctional written down. I will never forget those weeks with some of the FUNNIEST, smartest, and kindest people I’ve ever met. When I say funny, I mean that there were moments every single day of the summer where I couldn’t breathe. I probably should have seen a doctor to make sure I was still healthy, honestly.

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Raven and Dylan were Law people but still normal. Thank you for being you and so ridiculous, inappropriate, and ridiculously inappropriate ❤ I love you both. Damali is like a second sister/mother to me. I love her with my whole heart and she gives the best advice in the entire world. If you want to feel good about yourself and life, talk to her. She will lift you up no matter what day it is. I miss her, her genuine laughter, and her sassy spunk she brought to that office.

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To James. Who always looked SO DANG HANDSOME AND DAPPER ALL THE TIME. If you wanted to know who the best dresser was all summer, it was this guy. My fellow photographer and film-lover. One of the kindest and gentlest souls I’ve met who can throw down rhymes like no other. My brother and friend, love you James <


I’m wrapping up this 20 page long dissertation, don’t worry.

Among the people who changed my life, the lives I changed, and the never-forgotten experiences I had, I wanted to leave you with some amazing advice from a speaker we had–Ranessa Boley Lane. This intelligent, funny, well-spoken woman rocked my world with these few tips and helped shape the conferences and lives of these students.

  1. Own your gifts
    1. Your gifts don’t become gifts until you get good at them. Pay attention to your passion and to what you hate. Follow your passion, that is where your heart is and that is where you’ll love life.
  2. Play courageously
    1. Show up for your dreams. Be ambitious. You may be scared out of your mind to try something new, something you love, or deviate from your comfort zone but do it anyway. Do it scared.
  3. Bring your A-game
    1. Life goes how it’s supposed to go. You can’t control the outcome so you might as well learn from it. Come to give.   Remove judgment from people. The more you ask for advice, the more you’ll grow. Don’t be afraid to speak up, make your presence known, and display your confidence.
If I could wrap up this summer in a few points, it’d be the ones I listed above. I had no idea I had a gift or passion for teaching/dealing with youths. They’re our future and I’m part of that. This summer gave me something to think about in terms of alternative career paths post-college. I’m not so scared anymore. That being said, I’m scared out of my wits. But that’s not stopping me from going to Los Angeles this spring for my final semester at BU. It’s not stopping me from getting an internship in a place that’s intimidating or company that has created my favorite films. It’s not stopping me from getting on a plane and leaving behind what I know and am comfortable with. I’m doing it scared. And I will do it with gusto. I will be present, engaged, and all-around amazing so I get what I want. I will get coffee for who I need to, drive to where I need to, and talk to who I need to to make things happen for myself. I want to pursue film in Los Angeles and I will do it. Or just fake it till ya make it.
This summer helped in my leadership skills and my confidence and gave me some of the best experiences of my life. What’d you do with your summer?


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My sisters from another misters. These ladies were too much. From late-night conversations that should have not been yelled for the entire building to hear but whispered, to our last night sobbing in Burbank hall together. I love them both and they have changed my life forever. Hilarious, smart, KIND women who I can only aspire to be like. ❤

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Us. I love us. These people were my everything. Joe. My BB. The OG with me and Torrie. My O’La Tutu king. I had never met someone who could make me smile and laugh as much as he did.  Torrie. My sister. My O’La Tutu queen. My tribe leader. I was scared of her at first but thank god for our bonding experiences the first day at Pier 39. She was my girl through and through and I love her to death. Thank you for always saying “you know what” instead of laughing, hollering at inappropriate times, and being my dance partner and occasionally forgetting where we were at times (oh, a high-school student filled function? Let’s play Love Me by Lil Wayne.) It killed me leaving them and I cannot wait to see them again. They are my family. The kind of people you cannot be in the same room with for fear of laughing and being rude to someone. The kind of people you cannot eat your lunch or dinner with because you will choke and die. The kind of people you want to spend every waking moment with because they’re just that amazing. My brother and sister through this entire journey. My mentors and teachers. My supporters. I owe them so much. Love y’all ❤ o’la o’la tutu o’la o’la tutu. 

An Out-of-Character Talk-avism Rant

I want to talk about us. And by us, I mean We. We The People who so conveniently forget that that is who we said we would be. That that is what we pride ourselves on. That that “one nation under god” is only one land separated by everything and every man. By religion and ethnicity. By income and sexuality. By my peers and my teachers. By my authority whose desire to rule takes precedence over my right to live.

I get scared by the future and take note of the past. I was never treated as my ethnicity because I never looked it. Okay, I look white but I am not. I had people cheering me on and teachers telling me “yes.” I look down at our children now and see teachers who have given up. These kids who need guidance are led by people who say “no.” Who don’t believe. Who don’t care. These kids who need safety are guarded by people who draw guns before they speak. They hit before they think and care only when they’re in the heat.

I don’t want to live in a world with no love. A world with no tolerance or a world with no care. I want people to stop saying I’m not Hispanic, that black lives don’t matter, that gays cannot marry, that the poor did it to themselves, that mental illnesses are something to laugh at, and that the women of this country are equal. We are not. We are in 2014 but we are not.

I want to talk about us and by us I mean we. We are the future. So let’s start acting like it.

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Home Life

I’ve been back in the routine of the States and of New Jersey for a couple of weeks now and I wish for many different things. Maybe to not necessarily return to Australia (although maybe taste a tim-tam one last time?) but to achieve happiness with where I currently am.

I woke up every single day in Sydney happy to be who I am and happy knowing what I’ve done. I was happy knowing that traveling is no longer an unachievable thing. I was happy not having to merely get through the day but enjoy the day. I wake up every day here dreading going back to work and a job that is aptly named. I’m lacking passion and caring for anything other than how it’s affecting me.

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place…like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time, and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”

I caught a glimpse of myself having a fervency for life in a way I never had before and to let it go was as heartbreaking as it was not seeing my family’s faces in four months. Life back home is different and I didn’t know life until I lost myself somewhere that made me uncomfortable yet jubilant or scared yet brave. To those who say, “you don’t know a good thing until it’s gone,” I say: I knew every minute in Australia was the happiest I’d been and I was no longer content with life but living it to the best way a 20 year old knew how.

More to come from New Jersey,

Mariana
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