Just Breathe

I'm a bit burned out from law school. 

It's been almost a month of non-stop working for me. Class, study, sleep and repeat. I'm trying to fit in time to hang out with friends, but even my friends here are having difficulty tearing themselves away from their desks. I have a legal memo due and a trip to Chicago that has been in the works for the past couple of weeks. I had no idea it was so soon. 

I'm running on prayer and hope these days. It's getting to the point where I have to sit down and remind myself to just breathe. Breathe and remember that we're still alive and kicking. This too shall pass.

So, this is life? 

P. Manolos

Picture Perfect?

My new best friend these days is my camera. I'm still getting over a bad break up from this winter and I have a hunger for the truth like I have never had in my entire life. I guess that comes with the territory when you have spent the past couple months in the shadows of reality. There's something so liberating about snapping a photo to keep track of exactly how things are in that moment of time. Camera's don't lie. You can try to put on as much cover up, eyeshadow and Viva Mac V gloss as you want, but it's going to show who you are at that very moment of time.

I wrote the other day that I had that sinking feeling when you realize something is going down. I should have added that so many people wish for me to be ashamed of how I'm feeling and just "get over it".  It's over, done, finished, el fin. It's as if I should spend my time deleting the rest of my life from my photo memory card.  

Well, I'm working through the pain. I never realized how painful losing someone you truly loved was until I truly loved someone. I derive my picture of what true love really is from my parents. For almost forty years, the two of them fought through infidelity, financial catastrophes, and raising three kids.  The love my parents have for each other is real. They do have some real knock down, drag out fights, but at the end of the day they realize that they only get stronger with each knock out punch. Fighting isn't always a bad thing. I spent five years in a relationship where we hardly ever fought and I found myself wondering how I felt about him. I spent four months in a relationship where the small skirmishes affirmed my belief that this was a good man worth fighting for. 

I have my good days and my bad days. There are days where I feel fine and I understand that sometimes we aren't meant to be with everyone we love. Then there are bad days where I can't hold back the feelings of resentment and anger at what I had lost. I think the biggest problem facing our world is our inability to allow ourselves to love unconditionally. To accept that person for who they are when you are together and to wish them good things and send prayers for them when you are apart.  To surrender ourselves and allow our hearts to become completely vulnerable to the other person. We have been taught to photoshop over true love lost with "whatever" and "moving on" so much that we can't seem to see the real picture.

A picture that is worth a thousand words. 

Technology has gotten to the point where we can manipulate images and make them into something that really wasn't there in the first place. It's too bad they don't have that for the human heart. 

P. Manolos

Today's Obsession

I just woke up from a fuzzy dream
You never would believe the things that I have seen
I looked in the mirror and saw your face
You looked right through me, you were miles away

All my dreams, they fade away
I'll never be the same
If you could see me the way you see yourself
I can't pretend to be someone else

You always love me more, miles away
I hear it in your voice, miles away
You're not afraid to tell me, miles away
I guess we're at our best, miles away
So far away, so far away, so far away 
So far away so far away so far away

When no one is around then I have you here
I begin to see the picture, it becomes so clear
You always have the biggest heart 
When we're 6,000 miles apart

Miles Away- Madonna Hard Candy

I can't stop listening to this song. I had it on repeat all day today. 


P. Manolos 

The Sinking Feeling

"I have no interest in sailing around the world. Not that there is any lack of requests for me to do so." 

Edward Heath 

Song of the Day- Miles Away- Madonna Hard Candy

Life can take so many twists and turns. There are some days where you float along the river of life with ease and then there are those days where you feel like someone just sunk your battleship. 

My family has finally rallied around me. Of course it took the advice of an almost complete stranger to make them realize what I was going through with school, but I'm grateful for the reality check no matter who the messenger may be.

I'm drifting along figuring out what's lurking inside of me. I'm 23, single African-American woman working hard in law school to obtain a future career as a lawyer. Oh, I also have a nasty shoe habit I still haven't found a rehab group to join (btw, go see Confessions of a Shopaholic, it's no Slumdog but it's a feel-good movie). My environment reflects the way I feel at the moment. If the dishes are dirty and my closets aren't scattered with clothing, that usually means something is rocking my world and I'm not quite right today. Order=Happiness, Chaos=Strife. 

Well, needless to say my closet is a mess. Both my winter closet and summer closet look like a tsunami washed everything off the rack. Mr. Passion has moved out and moved on. The ship has sailed. My heart tinges a bit, it feels too soon.... I guess too soon for me, I felt like what we had meant something. Something that should be given a beautiful ceremony at sea and a prerequisite mourning period... 

There was a wise man that said if you truly love someone you must learn to let them go. I only wish him a safe journey with his new found destination. 


P. Manolos

What's on my I-Pod?

"Live Your Life" Mix

1. Poker Face/I Like it Rough- Lady Gaga (the whole Fame cd really..)
2. I Don't Need A Man- Pussycat Dolls
3. Live Your Life- T.I. featuring Rihanna
4. Radio/Sweet Dreams- Beyonce 
5. One Minute Man- Missy Elliott 
6. Turn You On- Paris Hilton
7. Opps I Did It Again- Britney Spears
8. Most Girls- Pink
9. Buy You A Drank- T-Pain
10. I Know You See It- Young Joc

I'm a bit boggled down with homework. I'm attempting to finish the syllabus for Contracts by the end of this week. We'll see how far I get to reaching this goal.

Full Price = Fool Price,

P. Manolos 

Quote of the Day

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."

Douglas Adams 

Life has its twists and turns. I can remember six years ago when all of my high school friends had received cars for graduation and my parents didn't have the money to buy one for me. I felt upset and a bit envious that despite all of my hard work, I still didn't have all of the bells and whistles in life. As I look back on the things I wanted and lost when I was younger, I realize how foolish I had been. I think I wanted these things merely because I could not have them, not because they had any real value. 

I also realize that God has a plan for each of us. The only problem with that is his plan is often in conflict with our own. He knows exactly what is good for us and knows each of our hearts. I am so glad he didn't give me a car when I wanted it because I would have never appreciated the one I have now. I'm glad I had to work two jobs to get through college because I appreciated every penny that I earned. 

It's easy to look back and realize that when we were younger, we made so many mistakes and had so many misplaced priorities. The problem I face now is that I see many obstacles in my life and I have yet to see them as just plans God doesn't have for me. He doesn't plan for me to spend Valentine's Day with someone I love, he doesn't plan for me to be the best of the best and he doesn't plan for me to achieve many of the goals on my 'do or die' list.

How do I get to the point of acceptance? When will I have the strength to reach down inside of my heart and let something go? Acceptance takes time and patience. If you try to force yourself into acceptance, you will end up on the losing end of the bargain. With all lost dreams we have in life, we must mourn them and spend time grieving the loss. It's only when we can grieve and understand why we feel the way we do can we move on to bigger dreams. Moving on to bigger dreams requires the faith to know that all things come together in the end and strengthening our faith is the only plan that will bring results. 

I'm strengthening my faith right now by loving the friends that I have and grieving for the love that I have lost. Losing love, missed opportunities, and unfulfilled dreams were things that I never intended to encounter.  Sometimes in life, when we do not arrive where we intended to go, we are finally standing where God has intended us to be. 

Quote of the Day

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. 

-Agnes de Mile

I finished my homework tonight with enough time to do a little belly dancing. I haven't been practicing daily as I should and it's a damn shame because I feel 100x better after I get some practice in. I've got to get back to work, remember to do a little dance every day. It will help release tension and put a little fun in your life.

Fancy Feet,

P. Manolos

Quote of the Day

"I know that my Redeemer lives"

Kings James Version, The Bible Job 19:25

Church was a real blessing today. I feel so calm and relaxed from hearing the word of God. I wish I could describe the feeling I have right now, but words seem to escape me. I hope all of you have a beautiful, restful Sunday. I'm going to work on homework and try to clean house if I finish at a decent hour.

Jehovah-Shalom- "The Lord Our Peace",

P. Manolos

Something Worth Fighting For

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting."

E.E. Cummings

I learned at a young age that there are some battles you just can't win. I never took my mother head on when we were fighting because I knew she would crush me. Just the other day, I caught myself in a tussle with a pair of leopard print tights only to find myself resigned to the fact that there's probably no way in hell I'll pull them off. Let's not even talk about the corset jeans I bought the other day............

Some things are just not worth fighting for. 

On one of my favorite blogs,  an anonymous message popped up , reciting my own history and the many 'flaws' that I had. Needless to say I was hurt, I considered this person one of my close confidants and a sage advisor.  I had bared my soul to her only to find it used against me in an online anonymous knife fight. Well, just like a pair of cheap dark wash low-cut jeans from Wal-Mart, her true colors came out when agitated by friction and the frailties of human life. 

It was then that it dawned on me that the reason why she had posted an anonymous article is because she has no idea how to fight. Can't. Land. A. PUNCH!  She can't fight fair and when she doesn't win the fight, she takes a knife to the back of her competitor and twists it as they turn around to give them a handshake. A wise man once said that insanity is trying the same thing over and over again expecting the same result. So many failed relationships should have indicated that she needed to change her fighting technique. They also should have told her that winning isn't everything and sometimes being 'right' just isn't that important in life. At this very moment, I can't help but to envision her as the historic Captain Ahab riding upon their ship of false Christianity in hopes to capture the great White Whale of vindication. Sometimes, when you take a stand on your insecurities, trust issues, and general immaturity about the complexities of human relationships, you end up alone on shaky ground.  Without the damn whale to boot... 

Christ tells us in the Bible to forgive others and to love thy neighbor as thyself. He not only wants us to love our neighbors, he also wants us love our enemies. Judge and be judged. A true friend doesn't practice shameless acts of character assassination.  You do not care for someone when you use their pain against them. You do not love someone when you label them with hurtful character judgments such as "drama", "negative" or a "user".  Many relationship experts have stated that the beginning of the end of a relationship starts when instead of attacking the problem, people begin to attack the very core of the other person's being. Attacking the core of a man leaves a trail of poison and indifference that cannot be cured with apologizes and entreaties for forgiveness. 

Friendship is like finding a safe haven in the middle of a war zone. I have fought many a battle and there were times where I have flown the white flag of surrender. But there are times in your life where you find someone who you feel is your friend and you let your guard down.  You put down your sword, throw the shield to the side, and divest yourself of all armor to reveal the person hiding beneath the battle gear. You reveal all of your inner thoughts, secret pains, and feelings of inadequacy to this person because you feel like you are safe.  Far away from the noises of battle, you begin to relax and drift into a quiet serenity in a fortress of friendship. The "drama" that happens in your life can be revealed because in the deepest recesses of your heart you know that your friendly counterpart will keep all of your feelings safely locked behind metal doors. You know that no matter how ugly things get on the outside, you have someone who sees the good inside of you.

It is only when you feel a sharp pain in your back do you realize that you had just been hoodwinked by the enemy. It is a difficult wound to heal when you are hurt by a friend. The wound I speak of is not the imaginary "backstabbing" you conjure up to justify your own craving for the admiration of strangers. That is is only a superficial scratch. No, the wound I speak of is much deeper than the morally troubling need for social acceptance. This wound just won't heal on its own. It won't scab over because its inflictor is a nefarious character who uses 'trust issues' as cheap Covergirl coverup for their own lack of emotional intelligence. This wound festers, stinks, and covers with gangrene if the source of contamination is not sterilized. When the bleeding stops and the shock subsides, you pick up you must pick up your discarded armor and retreat into a state of personal reflection.  Run! Retreat! What is worse than a real enemy is a false friend. You run because you must reflect on how the enemy intruded and how to prevent another one from getting too close to your inner sanctuary. You must reflect on whether this friendship, this person who has wounded you in a spiritual sense of mortality, is truly worth fighting for.

No. You are not worth fighting for. 

I fought for many causes in my life.  I spent evenings on the Rape Crisis line with clients who had real problems. They ranged from sexual assault to ritual rape and the urge to commit suicide. I have had clients on the phone with a knife to their wrists begging me to fight the battle they can't seem to win. I rose to the challenge because they are worth it and the skirmishes they face on a daily basis are real. I've been physically and verbally abused as a child by my classmates. I have been kicked, spit upon, pushed down, and tripped many a time. I fought speech therapy when I was told I could not speak and I fought financial disparity when I was told I could not work. Each time I found myself down, I got back up. I rose from battle stronger and a bit wiser about how to ward off the enemy. I still keep prizes from each conflict to remind myself of what I have overcome and what I still have yet to achieve in life. 

Those were battles that were worth fighting for. And I thank God for them, because I would never have become the woman that writes before you today. 

P. Manolos

BTW- I'm still fighting the good fight with the leopard print tights.. I will report back as soon as I can declare victory! 


Has anyone seen that movie with Britney Spears and two other token sidekicks?

Wait, maybe that's the wrong question....

Has anyone seen that movie with Britney Spears and two other token sidekicks and is willing to admit it out loud to other people?

I commiserated to a good friend the other day about the many challenges I have faced in the past six months. I started law school, fell in love, got my heart broken, and found myself wondering whether I was strong enough to continue the journey God has set out for me.  I told her about how great I used to be. I used to work two jobs, live in a 400 sq ft apartment overlooking the freeway (with only a couple of pairs of shoes and a mold problem on the walls), not to mention my volunteer work as a Rape Crisis Counselor. I was able to handle all of my personal problems and talk rape survivors through a variety of situations. I told her that six months ago I was confident, self-assured, and blissfully happy. Nothing bothered me and I had only one mood: serene.

I recited all of these accomplishments proudly as if they meant anything. It was only when she looked at me and said that the girl I used to know, had never gone through anything in her life. P. Manolos of the past had never faced so much summer construction on the road of life. She never met a challenge she didn't overcome with the snap of a finger nor did she flinch at the sight of adversity. The reason why she was able to jump hoops was because the hoops weren't very high to begin with. 

It was from that moment on that I realized that the emotions I had been experiencing the past six months- anger, despondency, frustration, and even a touch of melancholy- were normal. I was going through the toughest phase of my life at the age of 23. All of the perfect feelings I had wrapped up inside of me snapped this year and I started making mistakes I should have made years ago. I let myself feel, think, and exist all on my own without thinking about what was best for the other people around me. 


It's where two trains meet and can change tracks. I guess I'm just the pink little engine that could who is trying to find my station in life. I know how to drive down the tracks, but figuring out where to go.... that's the hard part.

Train Wrecked

P. Manolos

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