life chapters clmannarino

Food for Thought: Life Chapters

life chapters clmannarino

Everybody has a chapter they don’t read out loud.

PS — I’ll be posting a chapter of my book every month up until the book itself is available for purchase — three chapters in three months. Not a bad size for an excerpt, I think. The first chapter can be found here.
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Photo Challenge: Self Portrait

clmannarino IMG_1596

I was deciding whether or not to cut my hair. At the time, I’d decided cutting my hair would be a good thing: I’d been griping about it all summer, plus I’ve been falling in love with the curl my hair gets when it’s drying or there’s humidity outside. Usually, the best way for me to enjoy my curls is when my hair is short and the curls are close to my face. Over time, when my hair gets long, my curls tend to fall towards the bottom of my hair, leaving the top flat and…well, not as fun.

So I took this picture as a “before” photo, since I always forget to take one before getting a haircut. Little did I know, when I checked to see how it came out, I thought hey, not bad!

Moral of the story: thanks to a pretty nice selfie, I haven’t gotten my hair cut. I wish it showed off the curl in my hair a bit more, but isn’t that life?

PS — I’ll be posting a chapter of my book every month up until the book itself is available for purchase — three chapters in three months. Not a bad size for an excerpt, I think. The first chapter can be found here.

the good and bad clmannarino

Food for Thought: the Good and Bad

the good and bad clmannarino
I taste the good and bad in you and want them both.
Anita Ofokansi, Literary Sexts
PS — I’ll be posting a chapter of my book every month up until the book itself is available for purchase — three chapters in three months. Not a bad size for an excerpt, I think. The first chapter can be found here.

Of Not Being the Tweeter I Wish I Wanted to Be

Sisters 1 and 2 have Snapchats. I’m pretty sure I everyone in their generation does, though. I don’t know a single kid their ages (15-21) who don’t have Snapchats.

They’re like people who text one another while they’re in the same room. We’ll be watching TV, or sitting around talking, and all of a sudden, either 1 or 2 will burst into laughter, or snap at the other one (usually this is 1 snapping at 2) for taking a picture or video without her knowledge. They’re on it almost as much as they’re on Netflix.

I have one, too (clmannarino, if you’re curious). I used it all of maybe 20-50 times, mostly while we were on vacation in our country’s capitol. And I’d like to give myself some credit: day one was a very good day for my Snapchatting. I was on a roll.

By the end of three days, I had to remind myself to use it. By the end of four, I stopped entirely.
 Boyfriend’s sisters use Snapchat, too. More than Twitter, I think. I’m not sure who uses Twitter anymore — Boyfriend and I were talking about it one day and the consensus was Twitter came down to “marketers talking to other marketers, and some teens to whine about their days.”

Boyfriend doesn’t have Snapchat. He has Twitter, though, and he uses that less than I do, which is to say that I check my feed in the morning, and he posts every 3-6 months.

God love ’em, I have no energy for them — these social media sites. That makes me sound like such an old woman.

I’ve read all the paperwork before — all the blogs and books and articles telling businesses and professionals why these sites are such good things to use if you’re going to profit. I went out and got the accounts and made fairly decent use of them for a while (read: most of last year). I tried being devoted and paying attention.

I wish I wanted to use them more, but I just don’t, and I can’t bring myself to waste energy pretending I enjoy them.

 They look like so much fun, though, when my sisters use them. Or when I see old friends talking to their colleagues. Or when I watch celebrities fight with each other, even if I get bored after a while. And they’re fantastic for following shows — most recently, the soap opera known as The Bachelorette. This season in particular is one which I have plenty of words for and absolutely zero patience surrounding, though it’s like watching a train wreck.

(Or reading a draft of my first book, in which you’d sit there screaming at the people involved and wondering why they keep making dumb decisions.)

They’re also fun for passing on advice. I like advice posts. Each time I read one, I get a new thrill of reassurance from being told something I either knew to be true and got it affirmed, or am told something I don’t know and a light bulb goes off for me.

They make me want to use them so that I can be involved with my sisters passing 24 hour texts. So I can share pictures of things like the horizon line and food and have five friends tell me how cool the things I’m doing are. So I can join the fun, the community. So I can be thought of as Funny or Cool or Informative or Profound. You know, all those attributes we label people we admire because they seem to be doing the things we think we can’t.

All of that’s well and good, though, until I hit the phase in my life where I think “let’s go off-grid.” I had a few of those before, where I’d delete everything except my email, only to regret it and have to make all new accounts. I couldn’t decide if keeping my information out there was a good thing or not. I still can’t.

It’s my belief, however, that this inability to decide leads to me not wanting to be as active on Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram as I maybe was at the start. I’m a regular peeping tom for others’ photos, but I’m so bad at being involved.
 Boyfriend likes keeping his information private. It’s why I couldn’t find him — or much about him — when we first started dating. Don’t worry, he knows I snoop. We confessed our tendencies to each other early on, and the relief was both palpable and refreshing.

He has a few sites and a few places where he’s minorly active, but he doesn’t buy into social media. Hell, he basically doesn’t even have FB at this point. SBT and Mom and my sisters would all send him messages (birthday, articles, what have you), and then either tell me that they sent them, or complain to me that he hadn’t responded.

Me: *rolling eyes* He doesn’t use (insert social media name here)/

SBT / Mom / Sisters: Well, tell him to check it!

Me: Send him an email. Here’s his address. *gives them the name*

They (mostly) all scoffed and left me to tell him what they did so they wouldn’t have to open their email accounts again. Every time I get involved in one of those exchanges now, I think of how Boyfriend’s sisters reacted when their mom said she’d emailed them.

“Nobody uses email anymore!” the older one said. The shock on their mom’s face was genuine, but the girl’s were too baffled and tickled to stop laughing.

Honestly, I’m with their mom on this one. I still use email. It’s my preferred form of communication, aside from texting. His sisters also suggested their mom text them, but the argument they received was that it took her too long with her (admittedly old) phone.

Fair enough. That ended the argument.

So I’m not willing to put in the effort to be the Tweeter I want to be. Not today, at least. I was part of the Facebook and Myspace generation, and those got me rolling well enough that I wasn’t on the search for something different. Both work for nosy-old me. Maybe that’ll change.

If it does? I’ll be a Tweeting / Snapchatting / Instagramming machine, like I am with Facebook.

Does social media make you crazy, too? How many accounts do you have? Did you decide consciously not to join, or are you uninterested? Are there sites you wish you wanted to join, and just aren’t the person for?

PS — I’ll be posting a chapter of my book every month up until the book itself is available for purchase — three chapters in three months. Not a bad size for an excerpt, I think. The first chapter can be found here.

chamillionaire ridin' ft krayzie bone screen shot clmannarino

Chamillionaire – Ridin’ ft. Krayzie Bone

Boyfriend played this song a few times over the weekend because he was missing good rap and 90s music, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. So now I’m sharing the love! Shout-out to you, Boyfriend, my darling. <3

PS — I’ll be posting a chapter of my book every month up until the book itself is available for purchase — three chapters in three months. Not a bad size for an excerpt, I think. The first chapter can be found here.

note to self clmannarino

Food for Thought: Note to Self

note to self clmannarino


PS — I’ll be posting a chapter of my book every month up until the book itself is available for purchase — three chapters in three months. Not a bad size for an excerpt, I think. The first chapter can be found here.


Photo Challenge: Technology

We went to the Brimfield Antique Show for the first time ever, but we didn’t have an idea in mind of what we were going there for. By the end of the trip, I had a new sun hat and Sister 1 had a manual camera for school, but Sister 2 hadn’t gotten anything and she didn’t want to leave empty-handed if we were all buying stuff. (This despite the fact that Mom was walking away empty handed.)

We came across a smaller record player than this and Sister 2 decided she wanted one for her room. After looking looking looking and not finding one, she said forget it and went to the car, but Sister 1 and I wanted to check one last tent. After nosing around, she found this one, though we couldn’t find a price tag. We texted Sister 2, but since it didn’t plug into the wall, Mom said it wasn’t worth buying and we left without it.

I’m impressed by the fact that people still use these things. They also make me thankful for iTunes, though.

PS — I’ll be posting a chapter of my book every month up until the book itself is available for purchase — three chapters in three months. Not a bad size for an excerpt, I think. The first chapter can be found here.


Of What Love Looks Like

I’ve been with Boyfriend for what feels like a very long time. It’s longer than any other relationship I’ve been in. He’s a compliment to my personality, the way I am to his — we challenge each other. We have what the other needs, him in logic and me in empathy.

We also do things together, as a couple. I used to say, “I’ll make you breakfast,” and then he’d ask, “Why don’t we make it together?” I don’t know when “I” became “we,” but I remember the first time I heard him say it. I grew warm from my head to my toes.

He forgives me when I argue too much. He worries about me being unhappy. If we get into a debate about the bad things in the world, he’ll end the conversation by reminding me that he doesn’t want these topics to make me sad all the time. I remind him to wear his seat belt. I give him things he needs, but won’t go out of his own way to get (like a GPS, which he now uses all the time).

I’ve known SBT for maybe a little over a year, the same amount that I’ve known Kayla, and I’ve known TK since college. They’ve all been just what I need in entirely different ways, though the one thing they all share is that they’re all positive people.

SBT is just a tender heart. She and I write emails to each other in flowery prose. We wax poetic on writing processes and character development. We giggle like school children over the nitty gritty details of our love lives, and live vicariously through each other when one of us is single. We outline our dreams aloud, over-analyzing the things boys say to us, the way friends are going about their lives, and how to free ourselves from the invisible confines of the belief systems we grew up with. She reminds me of a Disney princess, pink-cheeked and laughing, delicate with her words and steps, talented in many arts, and personable.

Kayla is kind and thoughtful. She’s not the kind of person I imagine swearing very much. She’s quick to extend an invitation to something fun and exciting. We go on hikes and exchange advice about happiness. We talk about achieving dreams. She works so hard at what she wants, even when that work can be overwhelming. We both have backgrounds in education, and I value so much that we can share our experiences, or that I can compare what my mom’s told me to what she’s going through. She reminds me of an adventurer, a backpack of necessities on one shoulder and a bag of art supplies on the other. She likes trying new things, but she also really wants to enjoy herself.

TK has been my longest standing friend, and she’s like a sister to me. She does things I wouldn’t think to do because she’s wanted to do them, but she plans more than she lets on and surprises me in ways I’m grateful for. I never thought I’d have a friend whom I can hear little from over the course of months before we reunite and pick up like we never left, but I got lucky. She checks in. She worries. She reminds me of that older sister, or that cool aunt, who’s always doing something different and takes in the world. To me, she shrugs off problems with ease. She’s incredibly outgoing, personable, and often loud, but she likes to sit and chat, she likes to enjoy good food, and she likes getting out into the world.

I’m also lucky to be blessed with a large family — this goes without saying, given how often they appear here — that includes animals. Dogs and a cat that all let me know what they need when they need it. They rely on me.

They also love me. Kitten Cat sits on my lap for pets, rubs up against my legs for food, meows for dinner or upset at not being able to climb to the window. Salchicha and The Hound sit by doors to go out, protect us from random passers-by, and make sure we don’t leave food or valuables on the ground.

There are so many kinds of love. I’ve also had aggravation with everyone here, which I’ve felt in turns both justified for and guilty over. Looking back at it all, I’ve learned a couple of things.

Love looks like “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”

Love looks like “We argued because of the way I acted, and that’s my fault. I don’t want this to hurt us later, so I’m going to be better. I want to change.”

Love looks like “Take care of yourself first before you can love someone else.”

Love looks like “I’ll learn your language so that we can communicate better.”

Love looks like remembering a food that someone likes and having it ready to surprise them.

Love looks like learning how to use your voice when something bothers you so that you can address it up front.

Love looks like not speaking when someone just needs a hug.

Love looks like telling someone the truth because you want them to be informed before they make a decision.

Love looks like listening to understand, instead of waiting for your chance to talk.

Love looks like “I need your help, I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Love looks like “I’m always on your side.”

Love looks like getting past the butterflies stage and reaching the stage where seeing the people you love just puts you at ease.

Love looks like not worrying about the relationship.

Love looks like compromise.

Love looks like shared dreams for where you want to go in your relationships.

Love looks like encouraging each others’ individual dreams.

Love looks like “I’m really angry that you’re going, and I’m even angrier that you’re choosing to stay away, but I know why you are, and I’m actually glad that you’re doing something you really want to do, even if it takes you away for a long time.”

Love looks like “I’m here for you, chica.”

Love looks like “I love you, even when I’m angry.”

What does love look like to you? How did you get there? Are you still waiting to get there?