Important, Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021

Day 12: Merry Christmas from Letters From Liz!

Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate the holiday! It’s the most magical day of the year! It’s crazy to think that Christmas is finally here! I hope everyone is having a great day with loved ones & that it’s full of joy and love!

Thank you to everyone that has read the blog over the past year and to see it grow into what it is today. I spent the past year telling stories of other people I created, as well as my own during the process of my weight loss surgery journey. It’s definitely been a unconventional year for the blog as I steered away from what I used to write, but I am so glad to those who still stayed around and read the stories I wrote, fictional and not.

I wanted to come on here and share something that was dear to my heart: my publication on The Journal of Basic Writing! The recent issue has been officially published on their website, and I’m so excited to share it with you guys!

This article started in the midst of the 2020 pandemic lockdown. I reached out to my mentor, Ro, about writing an article since we’ve been planning on collating on one since I graduated from grad school in 2018. We came together to write our separate parts within a week of discussing it, and since then it’s been in the works for the last year and 9 months. It’s crazy to finally see the publication up and live and be a part of a journal that I personally used for my own research in my Masters Thesis and this journal article.

First, I would like to thank my mentor for working on this article with me. With your busy schedule and many other publications in the works, I was honored that you wanted to work with me on my first ever scholarly publication. I aspire to be like you; to have accomplish so much and to still be so young, it’s a journey I can only imagine that wasn’t easy, but you’re definitely inspiring new scholars like me to go after the things I am passionate about! Thank you for being a part of my life even after graduate school, and for being a good friend!

Without further ado, here’s the article! Merry Christmas once again and I will see you in the new year for our annual “Anniversary Celebration”!

“Encouraging Student Voices: Toward a Voice-Based and Antiracist Culture from the MA Program to Basic Writing”:

Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021

Day 11: A Reflection of 2021.

It’s still pretty crazy that 2021 came and went.

It feels like it was just 2020 going through the pandemic and watching the world changing to its new reality. 2021 was just a continuation of that, with just a little bit more freedom to do things we couldn’t do last year.

2021 was a year I definitely didn’t expect, to be honest. I mean, this time last year, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and negativity towards my body and insecure with the friendships I kept. I was still in the process of getting cleared for surgery, but also I was in this weird place where I needed attention from people because I felt a little lonely and unappreciated. I wasn’t really happy with how I looked anymore, and I was losing just a little bit of myself as the weeks passed by. Coming into 2021, I really didn’t know how the year was going to go.

I started off the new year in a really bad mental place. New Years have always been a little rough for me, so I really try to take it as easy as possible. I wasn’t really taking care of myself, so I wasn’t able to be there for the ones I cared for (although I tied to be).

For the first half of 2021, that’s what my life was like. I was trying to keep my shit together while getting clearance for all of the requirements for surgery. I still remember having to go to the sleep center one night to sleep in an office room bed with a million wires attached to me to see if I was prone to any sleep disorders. That was an experience, like lights were out by 9PM and I was nowhere near tired. Once I fell asleep, they woke me up at 5:45AM, unhooked me, and I was allowed to go home. It was definitely an experience that I hope I don’t have to go through again! I also remember all the blood work I had to go through to wrap up the whole process; it was definitely a process that took way longer than expected, but finally in May, I was cleared for surgery and signed all the paperwork required to do so!

Around the same time, I rekindled an old friendship with a person that I thought I would never rekindle one with. At that point, I was just in a place where I didn’t want to hold onto grudges anymore. I didn’t want to keep holding onto the past and allowing it to affect my preset and future. I just wanted to forgive myself first before forgiving anyone else, and I did. I’m glad that I took that step into moving forward, because this friendship now means the world to me and the support I got from them during the pre-op process was well-needed. Of course, balancing both IRL friendships and online friendships were a lot to handle at the time, and in the process I lost some friends a long the way. I think these things had to happen for the sake of knowing that I needed to learn how to set boundaries with myself and my time because, again, I was now in this process where a lot of my energy had to be put into taking care of myself before and after surgery. A lot of my energy still is on that, to be honest.

Surgery happened in July, and since then it has felt like my life literally took on a whole new chapter. I had to learn my new body cues, my hunger cues, and learn how to be okay to not eat everything that is served on the table. I also had to learn when to stop eating when I was finally full, and through many days and nights where I got sick on the toilet trying to learn, I eventually did.

2021 was not just a year where the world began to open up like the way we knew it before. It was a new beginning for tons of us; it was seeing some hope that some change can happen and that the world can be what it once was before the pandemic. It was being able to see friends and family again after a really long time, and it was a time where even though we aren’t completely done with COVID as a whole, we are still able to move forward with our lives. In a way, I’ve felt the same about my own journey.

Thank you for showing me a lot about myself and being able to find out what were the important things. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to change my life and gain back control of something I thought I would never gain control with. Thank you for allowing me the space to figure things out about myself, and the friendships I keep and the relationship I have with myself.

Here’s to 2022!

The "Something" Series, Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021

Day 10: Something Brings Us Here: A Scene.

New York City - Snowy Night in the East Village | May your C… | Flickr

One Year Ago…

Grace paces back and forth in her apartment. Her phone sits on the kitchen counter; she checks it every now and then, waiting for it to light up. She wipes her tired eyes and shakes her arms. She immediately looks at her phone, which is now lit up and vibrating. She walks to the counter and picks up the phone; the screen reads “Jamie”.

Grace: Hello?

Jamie: *sarcastically* Is this actually my jagiya talking to me on the phone?

Grace doesn’t react; she stands there with tears forming at her eyes. Jamie notices the tension.

Jamie: … Is everything okay, Grace?

Grace squeezes her eyes shut, she still hasn’t said anything.

Jamie: *worried* Grace? Grace??

Grace: *spits out* What?

Jamie: Are you okay? Is now not a good time? I just–

Grace: *annoyed* When is it ever a good time? You live all the way across the fucking world, so when is ever going to be the right fucking time for us?

Jamie: *confused* What?

Grace: I’m tired, Jamie. It’s about to be midnight here and I need to get up early to get to the studio. So, what is it?

Jamie is taken back, he is heard trying to form a sentence to respond back with.

Jamie: This is the first time I’m able to reach you in weeks. I have the time, I make time for you. I can’t say the same for you though, Grace.

Grace: Are you fucking serious right now? I have a life, Jamie.

Jamie: And what is mine? Worthless? Grace, I’ve been trying to talk to you for weeks! How is our only form of communication is just text messages? You’re my girlfriend, I would love to hear your voice! See you on video call every once and awhile! I’m starting to feel like you’re hiding something from me.

Grace clenches her stomach and silently tears up. She opens her eyes, in rage.

Grace: If you really think I’d hide something from you, then why are you still trying to be with me? Clearly I’m not; I can’t imagine how a relationship could even work out like this! You can’t be here to comfort me, to hold me, or even be there for me when I need you to be! So, what’s really keeping us together? Nothing.

Nothing is said on the line, just complete silence.

Jamie: … If this isn’t what you want anymore, then who am I to force you to do anything.

Grace: *furious* That’s it? You’re just gonna let me go like that? You’re just like every other fucking person I met in my life! Just so fucking easy to let me go and act like nothing has ever happened! You said you were gonna stay here with me, and lied about that – and now you’re just gonna let me break up with you?!

Jamie: What the fuck am I suppose to say, Grace?! This doesn’t even feel like a relationship anymore! I’m sorry that I couldn’t keep my promise and stay with you; this is something I have no control over, but answering your calls and making time for us is something we have control over, and you’ve been choosing to keep me in the dark!

Grace doesn’t anything, she just cries to herself.

Jamie: Maybe we should break up.

Grace: Maybe? We should. Goodbye.

Grace hangs up the phone and begins to cry. She tosses her phone on the counter and grabs the medical papers; they are from Planned Parenthood. She rips them up and tosses them in her kitchen.

Grace wakes up in a cold sweat. She looks around her apartment; she fell asleep on her couch. Her head is pounding. She gets up and walks to her kitchen. She looks for the coffee tin, which to her surprise is empty. Grace sighs and tosses the empty tin out. She grabs her wallet and keys and puts her heels back on and walks out the front door.

It’s about 2am in the city. There are still people out, but the streets aren’t as busy during the winter nights. She walks until she reaches her destination; the cafe.

She swings open the door and walks towards the counter. Bernie, the overnight barista, greets Grace.

Bernie: It’s been a hot minute since we saw you in here at this hour, sweetie.

Grace: Out of coffee at my house. Had to come out for the next best thing.

Bernie: You mean the best thing, I don’t know what kind of shit coffee you drink in your home.

Grace nods in agreement. Bernie prepares Grace’s drink.

Bernie: Am I making this for the sober or hungover Grace?

Grace: Hungover.

Bernie: Sweetie… we have to stop meeting uder these circumstances.

Grace: Work at normal hours.

Bernie laughs and makes Grace her coffee for the night. He hands the drink to Grace while she takes out her card from her wallet.

Bernie: *shakes head* This one is on the house.

Grace: You sure?

Grace takes a sip front her coffee and instantly coughs.

Bernie: Positve!

Grace gives Bernie a stern look and walks away from the counter to sit in her usual spot. She takes out her folders of work: notes for choreo, costume designs, and miscellaneous documents. She sips on her overly strong coffee and gets to work.

Grace hears Bernie talking to another customer; an early bird on her way to work. She remembers when she would make the trip here to get her morning coffee on her way to the law firm. She sometimes misses it, but remembers the hurt being at the firm brought her. Another customer walks in, and Grace curiously looks at who may be the cause of another late-night visitor. Her eyes widen when she sees the tall man at the counter, ordering the coffee order she knows by heart.

She tries to quickly gather her papers and sneak her way out of the cafe. She doesn’t want anyone seeing her here, at this hour, this unprepared. She takes a deep breath, maybe she’s just imagining things. Still, she tries to sneak out of the cafe; better safe than sorry.

She makes it close to the door until she feels her ankle buckle from the heels she is wearing. She stumbles on the ground, making a huge scene in the cafe. Bernie looks at Grace, and the man standing in front of the counter turns around now. Grace looks up at the man.

Jamie looks down at Grace. Nothing is said between them.

Bernie: The amount of times you’ve tripped and fell in this damn cafe, Grace! My goodness, are you alright?

Grace doesn’t say anything, she just begins to pick up her paperwork. Jamie, who now has brown hair in comparison to the blonde hair he once had, kneels down on the floor and begins to help her.

Black Sheep in Society., Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021

Day 9: A Sheep and his Girl: A Scene.

6 Best Simple Family Game Night Games

Micah sits at a bus stop in Brooklyn, scrolling through this phone and occasionally looks around as if he was looking for something or someone. When he puts his guard down for a slight moment, someone taps his shoulder. He immediately looks up; it’s Kalia.

Kalia is Micah’s girlfriend of 2 years. They began dating during his senior year of high-school; she was in her sophomore year of college. Her father is a very famous Swedish actor, and she is current;y trying to follow in her family’s footsteps.

She smiles back down at Micah. He gets up from his seat and hugs Kalia, followed by gently kissing her on the forehead.

Micah: Hey babe, you got here without any issue?

Kalia: Yeah, there wasn’t any paparazzi hanging out near my apartment this morning; I heard that Kaylee Spencer is in town.

Micah: *nods* They’re giving you a break today.

Kalia: Thank God.

Micah laughs at Kalia’s response. The bus approaches the stop, and the couple aboard it.

Micah: You know I could’ve just called us a cab from your place.

Kalia: Absolutely not. You know how crazy it could get when a Uber driver sees “Kalia Holder” stepping into their car. At least on public transportation, no one cares about anyone on here.

Micah doesn’t say anything, he just takes a seat next to Kalia.

Kalia: So… the change of plans tonight, huh?

Micah: Oh, yeah. Tanner and Dani invited us to their place for a game night. You know, kind of like a double date.

Kalia: I was looking forward for it being just the two if us considering we don’t get to see each other as often during the weekend.

Micah: Well, with school and your auditions, you know how difficult it could get for us to make time, but this is going to be fun!

Kalia: I’m still very convinced that your friends do not like me.

Micah: *defensive* Hey, that’s not true! They wouldn’t have invited you along if they didn’t.

Kalia rolls her eyes as Micah teases her.

Micah: I’ll make it up to you; I promise.

The bus makes a stop and on comes a girl Micah recognizes. The girl has a messy hair bun tied to the top of her head, and is wearing small, tight clothing with heels. She walks into the bus and takes a seat towards the back. Micah is taken back by the contrast of this one particular person. Kalia takes notice of Micah staring.

Kalia: If I start dressy that slutty, would you keep your eyes on me?

Micah turns her head around towards Kalia.

Micah: She goes to my college. Ahe definitely never looks like that though.

Kalia: *concerned* You know her?

Micah: She just works at the bookstore, I don’t really know her.

Kalia drops the topic and looks on her phone. Micah attempts to look away, but can’t help it. Is that how Rosie looks like outside of her work clothes?

The couple walk out of the bus and towards an apartment building, the college dorm apartment building. They walk in the front door and head towards the elevator. They reached the floor they need to be on, and walk towards the apartment tey were heading to. After a few knocks on the door, Tanner opens the door.

Tanner: Hey! The gang’s all here!

Tanner invites Micah and Kalia into the apartment; the boys greet each other with their special handshake, and Kalia greets Tanner by simply saying hello.

Micah: You guys ready to get your asses beat on game night?

Tanner: Man, you know Dani and I will slaughter you both in Spades!

Micah: Speaking of Dani; where is she?

Tanner: Bathroom, putting her face on.

Dani: *from the bathroom* Whose side are you on?!

Micah: Oof, it’s the doghouse for you, Tan-Man.

Dani comes out the bathroom and greets the couple.

Dani: Hey! We’re actually surprised both of you came this time!

Micah gives his best friend the side-eye. Dani doesn’t say anything else, she just starts prepping the table.

Tanner: Alright, house rules are being played; no cheating, no whining that you’re losing, no fightin Micah and Dani…

Both Micah and Dani: Whatever.

Tanner: But most importantly, let’s have fun!

The couples sit at the table and Tanner begins to shuffle the cards.

In the middle of game night, the couples agree to take a slight break from the games to just eat and chill.

Dani: *to Kalia* So Kalia, how’s the whole auditioning thing going for you?

Kalia: It’s going. I have a few auditions tomorrow morning that I have to get ready for.

Dani: So you’re not going to stay for the rest of the game?

Kalia: I… I truly can’t.

Micah looks visibly confused.

Micah: Wait, you have to go? Why didn’t you tell me?

Kalia doesn’t say anything; Micah gets up from the table and goes to speak to Kalia in private.

Micah: When were you gonna tell me you had to leave early? I would’ve set something up, I–

Kalia: I don’t want you to have to worry about your friends. It’s okay, Micah.

Micah: Are you going to be fine going home by yourself? You need me to call you a cab?

Kalia: *laughs* Micah, I’ll be okay. I have a cab coming already.

Kalia kisses Micah on the cheek and gets her things.

Kalia: I’ll text you when I get home, babe. Have a fun night.

Micah doesn’t say anything, he just watches Kalia leave the apartment. Micah turns back towards his friends.

Dani: Where’s the actress?

Micah: *annoyed* Dani, don’t start with me.

Dani: She barely played any hands tonight! What was the point of her coming anyway?

Micah doesn’t answer, he just sits on the sofa and chugs down a beer.

Tanner: Dani.

Dani backs off and goes to clean the table. Tanner takes a seat next to Micah in the living room area.

Tanner: You good, bro?

Micah: Yeah, I’ll be fine… it wouldn’t be the first time, you know?

Tanner nods and agrees. Micah takes another beer and cracks it open; he takes in a deep breath.

Micah: I just wish she could’ve stayed a bit longer. Like, it’s only 8 o’clock. I could’ve took her home and made sur she got home safely and shit.

Tanner: Yeah, but she didn’t want that. You just gotta let her do what she wants to do.

Micah: But then she goes on these tangents on how we never spend alone time with each other anymore and that our schedules are just always conflicting and–

Micah sighs and shakes his head.

Tanner: I know, man…

Dani comes out from the kitchen area and looking at the two guys sitting on the sofa.

Dani: You chugging beers over Kalia? Man, you’re whipped.

Micah simply has no energy to fight with Dani. Dani notices, and backs off from Micah. He sits next to Tanner, holding a much more serious aura.

Dani: Look Micah, you know we care about you a lot, and we are hella tired seeing you get disappointed by Kalia every time you let her get you this way. You guys really haven’t felt like a couple in awhile.

Micah: We’re fine, Dani.

Dani: You’re drinking.

Micah: *annoyed* And? Who are you, the goddamn cops?

Dani: Don’t get mad at me just because I hit a nerve in telling you the truth!

The two friends begin to argue, and Tanner is yet the person having to break it up. Micah stops fighting and grabs his things to leave.

Micah: Yo, I don’t need to take this shit. I don’t tell you how to run your relationship; so don’t try to tell me what to do with mine.

Micah walks out the front door and slams it behind him.

The Teenage Tell-Tale., Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021

Day 8: The Teenagers Last Straw: A Scene.

Summer In The Park Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Milo walks down a pathway in the park on a warm day during the weekend. He wipes the sweat from his forehead and ties his dreadlocks into a ponytail. He looks around until he sees Sophie sitting on a park bench. He walks towards her.

When he gets closer, Sophie turns her head to look at him and then looks back down at the notebook she was writing in. When Milo reaches the bench, Sophie gathers her things, getting ready to get up.

Milo: Where are you going?

Sophie: *gets up* I finished the last part of the project.

Milo: Then what was the point of us meeting up?

Sophie puts her book-bag on and faces Milo.

Sophie: I didn’t need your help.

Sophie walks away, and Milo follows. He’s visibly annoyed.

Milo: Listen, as much as I want this project to be over with, we agreed to work on it together.

Sophie: *turns around* Oh, I’m sorry that I didn’t need your help with my part of the project.

Sophie turns back around and continues to walk away. Milo follows her, clearly not letting this go.

Milo: I don’t know what’s your problem!

Sophie: Nothing, Milo. Just go home. I’ll send you my part of the project tonight.

Milo: *stops in his tracks* Is this about Simon and I fighting?

Sophie stops and shuts her eyes.

Milo: Look, I’m sorry that I fought your little boyfriend, but he–

Sophie turns around and grabs Milo by the shirt.

Sophie: He’s not my bloody boyfriend; get that through that thick skull of yours.

Milo: Then why did you kiss him? What is it about him that–

Sophie: That what? That you don’t have?

Milo doesn’t say anything back. He’s surprised about her response.

Milo: You know he’s back with Laurie, right?

Sophie: *yells* Who cares, Milo?! Who cares about Laurie and Simon and about that damn petty drama?

Sophie turns forward one last time, not looking back. Milo runs to Sophie, stopping her in her tracks.

Sophie: Move out of my way.

Milo: Not until you tell me what’s going on.

Sophie: *defeated* Why do you care anyway? You just think I’m just as fake and plastic as the company I kept. So truly, why do you care about what’s going on with me?

Milo: Because I don’t know why you’ve been acting this way towards me. I care about you!

Sophie: Well you have a really shitty way of showing it.

Milo: *yells* Are you fucking serious?

Sophie: Bye, Milo.

She walks away and Milo doesn’t bother following her. He walks the opposite direction to go home.

Milo enters his house; he slams the front door shut in anger and startles the rest of the family. Milo Sr and Jennifer react to the slamming of the door.

Jennifer: Milo?

Milo’s bedroom door slams shut and the adults question what is going on.

Milo throws his backpack on the ground and jumps into his bed; face first into his pillow. After awhile, he looks up and sees his headphones on his desk. He picks them up and blasts music in his ears. He closes his eyes, trying to clear his mind.

Creative Pieces, Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021

Day 7: Stories I’m Currently Working On!

Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!

Wow; one week into the Lizmas celebration! Is it just me, or is this month just flying by? I mean, the holiday season comes and goes quickly every year, but I feel like it was just Thanksgiving not too long ago! Anyway, if you’ve been a daily reader of the blog for the past year, you would know that the writing universes that live in my mind have been officially taken over my creative writing side and are now officially different series! I definitely feel like every post that publishes for a certain series, I feel like it’s an episode of that week and then you have to wait until the following week to see what happens next! It’s definitely something I truly enjoy the most on the blog, so thank you for all of the support you guys have shown to these different series and characters throughout the year!

For those who would like to start a series or two, here’s just a summary of what’s currently going on in the universes of Grace & Jamie in The Something Series, Milo & Sophie in Teenage Tell-Tale and the new series with Micah & Rosie in Happier Than Never: The Series.

The Something Series

So, in a nutshell (since this is the longest running series out of all three), this series focuses on Grace Ashmore, a young adult in her mid-20’s trying to figure out her place in life, but not always having it together. Grace once worked at a law-firm (where she met her ex-fiancee/father of her daughter, Max Harper) and took her job a little bit too seriously, which caused her to lose out on her little family with Max and their daughter, Willow. Grace tries to do good by balancing the demand of her job and her role as being a mother, but she tends to fall short when she’s constantly choosing her work over her loved ones.

Jamie Kim, an overseas lawyer visiting the U.S for a work-related case, is a young adult in his mid-to-late 20’s; his work ethic looks polished and prepared on the outside. He is an experienced and well respected lawyer under his own firm, but also fails to know when to clock out and spend his evenings with his loved ones. Being the only man in a family full of women, he is constantly pressured to keep his culture and traditions in play as a man, but finds himself wanting to live a more westernized life, a life that his mother and older sisters don’t really understand. Because of his love for his career, he has also missed out on a lot of important things in his family’s life, and even had failed relationships because of it.

The two meet in a nearby coffee shop where Grace struggles to keep her life (I mean, paperwork) together, and Jamie offers to help. When they both learn that they are lawyers, Jamie offers to help Grace with her first big girl legal case in which she wins a couple of months later. Within that time, Grace and Jamie find themselves enjoying each other’s company, and begin to develop feelings for one another… until Jamie admits his visa is about to expire before the new year, which breaks Grace’s heart. And that’s honestly the start of it all. Grace and Jamie, as stubborn as they both are and don’t admit to their wrongdoings in situations, go through the next couple of years really figuring out who they are as people, but also fall in love with each other in the process. As of right now, things between the two aren’t the greatest, but hopefully they find their way back to each other… maybe.

Teenage Tell-Tale

So, the 8th grade can either go one or two ways for teens: absolutely amazing with memories to last a lifetime, or absolutely horrific and want nothing to do with your graduating class ever. This series serves you a mixture of both. This series focus on Milo Kamalani Jr, a 14-year-old boy going through the motions the end of middle school can bring. He’s consumed in his music, in which he practices for the big audition to one of the city’s prestigious performing arts school: Waverly High School of the Performing Arts; or simply just Waverly High. He mainly hangs out with his best-friend, Mollie Sue Castro, a spunky 14-year-old girl that gets herself (and Milo) into trouble far too often, and is usually the one fighting off the bullies. He finds himself not being able to voice his opinions well to Mollie due to how she handles things (which are not well) so he tends to fall down with Mollie if they are both involved in something against school rules… like fighting in the lunchroom whenever “one of the plastics” bothers them. He means good, but doesn’t always have a mind of his own.

Sophie Lee, one of the smartest girls in the graduating class yet is “one of the plastics” for being the mean girl’s friend, is a 14-year-old girl that isn’t like your average “plastic”. For one, she’s not really a follower of the leader, Laurie Warren, but still considers her one of her good friends despite the circumstances. Sophie moved to the U.S from the U.K a year before, only having one real friend, Simon Hempstead; the guy she used to have a crush on and briefly dated before moving onto, you guessed it: Sophie’s friend, Laurie. Since then, Sophie has been having this dilemma of who her real friends are and if she is only friends with Laurie because if she wasn’t, she would be a target for bullying from Laurie and the rest of her squad. While she can’t stand the fact that she has to pretend she’s okay with the boy that broke her heart for the sake of Laurie’s feelings, she does it anyway, even if her friends wouldn’t do the same for her.

Milo and Sophie met the summer before the school year and became close; he even gave Sophie the nickname “Scout” after the main character Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird since she was always curious about things and reigns being the smartest girl in their class. While they value each other’s friendship during the summer (and potentially catch feelings for each other as well), they are forced to pretend they do not know of each other because of them being in the two friend groups that despise one another. While at first it’s easy to separate the two, their English teacher partners them up to do their exit project together; The Teenage Tell-Tale Project. Partners have to show each other their favorite places in the neighborhood and get to know each other through the places they chose. While this project gets them the excuse to spend time with one another, both Mollie and Simon start to realize that Milo and Sophie are too friendly towards each other, and ultimately bring it up to both parties. Uh-oh, drama alert!

Happier Than Never: The Series

Black sheep tend to be misunderstood, unless you’re a black sheep yourself. This series focuses on Micah Kamalani (the younger brother of Milo which by in this series, Milo is roughly 30 years old), a 20-year-old college student studying sound engineering in order to pursue his dream in producing and DJing. While his love for music definitely comes from his family, the way he wants to pursue it is definitely different than what his father did and what his older brother is doing. Micah, the middle child in the Kamalani household, wears his hair curly and out, has a septum ring, and has tattoos on his arms which of course he got despite hoe his parents felt. He definitely is different from the family, and also tends to get in trouble often with those around him. His two best friends, Daniella (Dani) and Tanner, are along his side has he tries to figure out his place as a person in their twenties, even if Dani tends to give him a lot of shit for his poor mistakes. What makes things even more weird for Micah is that he is currently dating up-and-rising movie actress, Kalia Larsen whose father is a worldwide known and famous actor. Because of his girlfriend’s rise to stardom, Micah finds himself having to act and be a certain way in public so that him and Kalia don’t end up in the tabloids on a negative note. But, Micah always finds himself doing something wrong in Kalia’s eyes.

Rosie Delgado (who was first introduced to the blog a part of a short story I wrote back in college) is a 20-year-old college student studying art, which just tends to be her passion. With big, brown curly hair with different colored streaks in her hair and tattoos of her own, people tend to keep their distance from her, immediately labeling her as a “freak” or “weirdo”. She’s kept to herself most of the time, but she definitely has her own secrets she isn’t willing to tell just anyone. Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she resides in New York on her own and tends to work part-time to help pay off bills and necessities of living. She works at the college bookstore when she isn’t in class, to which she finds herself interacting with Micah a lot during her shifts, once he finds out she works there.

Although I’ve written about these two in the past before, I definitely wanted to write more about how they became friends and how they eventually get to where they go later in their story! Keeping to the original story on how they met, Micah and Rosie bump into each other on campus, to which Micah takes a liking into because of her style. After getting Rosie comfortable in conversation, they share a brief exchange of words before they are both taken away to their responsibilities as college students. To Rosie’s surprise, once Micah learns about her working at the bookstore, he tends to stop in the store at least once every time he is on campus. While their story hasn’t gone too much into depth yet, you’re going to want to read and learn about these two misunderstood black sheep of society.

And that’s it for now! I am excited for you guys to read all the ideas I have for these sets of characters, because they are constantly roaming through my mind. Until the next one!

Overexposed: A Self-Love Project., Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021

Day 6: Overexposed: The Plateau.

Weight loss surgery isn’t an automatic magic tool to lose weight. While it’s a powerful one, it is not magic. Not my words, but another writer that once documented their process after having weight loss surgery.

Hi, my name is Liz & I’ve hit a weight loss plateau.

I’ve been at my current weight for about a couple of weeks now, which hasn’t really happened since being on this journey. In fact, once I had the surgery, I was losing weight consistently– sometimes too quickly– more than I ever had. So, for me to hit this point in my journey where I haven’t lost another 5 to 10 pounds in a month sometimes scares the ever-living hell out of me.

It also makes me think that maybe I’m going something wrong. Am I not eating right? Am I not eating enough? Am I not exercising? Do I have to begin working out hardcore? It just very much feels like I’m doing something wrong and that’s why the weight loss stopped.

On top of that, it’s a very confusing conversation to have with people that asked me if I lost any more weight since my last update because, well, many people will expect you to lose tons of weight easily without any hiccups in the process.

Even I believed that. To have not had any major weight loss between my third and fourth month, I was worried that where I was was the stopping point. My anxiety about me not losing any more weight was through the roof, and it definitely got me depressed to think that I’ve went through this major change in my life for it to only work for three months. Something wasn’t adding up.

Although I know my success and self-confidence shouldn’t be determined by a number on the scale, it was hard to not get bummed by the number staying the same after seeing it constantly change as soon as I had surgery.

I honestly didn’t know weight loss plateau was a legit thing. I also didn’t know it was typical for a plateau to occur after having bariatrics surgery. In a nutshell, a plateau can occur for many reasons: the obvious one being that you are not eating food that is good for you, but instead doing the opposite and keeping your old, pre-surgery eating habits at bay. While I’m sort of guilty for this, I’ve managed to stay away from a lot of things that were in my old diet before having surgery. I’m also more in tune with my body and know just how much food I should be putting on my plate. FYI: it’s still not a lot. Nevertheless, the plateau tells me that there is something that is happening in my body that is inevitable and I shouldn’t obsess over it. Point blank, period.

But, what if it lasts longer than intended? What if it lasts for months more than the weeks that it typically lasts for? What if something is truly not right? Of course, my uncertainty and anxiety bring up these questions constantly when something in my own unique journey doesn’t follow the “bariatrics surgery handbook”.

Hearing other people’s stories online about their own plateau makes me feel like I’m not alone in the process and that I’m not doing anything wrong with my own journey. We are warned way before having surgery that it’s not a magic fix to weight loss; it only helps makes the process go a bit easier. But once surgery is over and done with and your body has healed from it all, it’s up to you to actively help the body keep it healthy and encourage it to lose more weight.

Again, let me just clarify that this isn’t me saying, “oh my go9d, I’m a failure for staying fat” or anything along those lines. If you guys have been long time readers, you would know my main reason for getting this surgery was because of my age and the high risk of other medical problems that run through my family because of obesity. I did not get this surgery to “be pretty and thin”, I did this so that I felt like my age instead of having my body hinder itself by feeling 20 years older. I was fine being in my skin when it was in the 300lbs territory, but physically it didn’t feel good.

I’m also not going to say that seeing the number go down didn’t feel good. It felt amazing to physically see the changes and to feel more my age as the weight was coming off. It was something I wasn’t able to do on my own, and with the hard work I went through to get surgery in the first place, it feels good to see weight come off like this. For me, it motivates me even more to work hard and try to keep this weight off now that I Iost some of it.

So, I hope once this published, the plateau is officially gone and the weight continues to come off as I work for it to come off. Again, this is something that I feel like not a lot of people will talk about within their journey because it could signify as failure, which again it isn’t! Maybe it’s just time to hit up that gym and get the membership. Maybe it’s time to track and portion out food better. Maybe we have to find ways to enjoy food without it being bad for you. There are ways to turn something like this back into a positive and gain back control of what we worked hard for. Because God knows once this weight is off, I’m keeping it off!

With that being said, 2022 is just the continuation of focusing on my body and getting to know this body better as we further ourselves into this journey. Patience, young grasshoppers.

Black Sheep in Society., Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021

Day 5: Black Sheep College Students: A Scene.

The College Campus Tour Checklist - College Board Blog

It was a cooler than normal day in this Autumn day. A young adult in this early 20’s, Micah, walks on campus with two of his friends.

Micah is an eccentric looking person; he rocks a nose piercing and curly hair with round glasses. His two friends are Dani and Tanner, who are actually a couple. Dani is Micah’s best friend since childhood; their parents have been best friends for what seems like forever. She’s definitely the mom of the group, always scolding Micah for his poor choices and decisions in situations. Tanner, Dani’s boyfriend, definitely follows the group and tries to be the peacemaker when Micah and Dani argue with each other, which is pretty much all the time.

The trio walk through the sidewalk on campus, holding their books until they reach a bench that they typically always sit on in between classes.

Dani: Can we just go in the lounge today? It’s freezing out here!

Micah: Maybe you shouldn’t have worn that dress with no jacket, smartass.

Dani: It’s literally the end of September, why the fuck does it need to be cold already?

Micah shrugs his shoulders and takes out a notebook and pencil. He flips to a page with music staffs and notes on it and reads it. Tanner takes off his sweater and hands it to his girlfriend.

Dani: So, what’s the plan looking like today?

Micah: I’m going out with Kalia after class today.

Dani rolls her eyes and audibly sighs out loud. Micah looks up from his notebook to look at Dani.

Micah: What? Sorry that I had plans already.

Dani: When are you going to remember that you also have friends? Like, you don’t see me and Tanner always running off to do couple things.

Micah: That’s because you guys are weird…

Tanner: Hey! We aren’t weird! We just like to spend time with our friends because they matter a lot to us and—

Dani: Tanner.

Tanner anxiously stops talking and looks at Dani and Micah.

Dani: Kalia can’t be that great in bed, Mic.

Micah: *shocked* Where the hell is this coming from?!

Dani: I mean what other reason are you constantly spending your time with her, like she barely has a personality from what I remember.

Micah: *to Tanner* Bro, control your girl before I hurt her feelings.

Dani and Micah start arguing and Tanner tries to break it up.

Tanner: All that Dani wants is for her best friend to hang out with us a little more.

Dani: Exactly.

Tanner: Bring Kalia over tonight.

Dani: *looks at Tanner* That’s not what I meant, babe; what?

Tanner: Look, we gotta be more accepting with Kalia since she’s Micah’s girl. If she makes him happy, then that’s what matters since Micah is our friend.

Micah: Thank you Tanner. *to Dani* Now how can he be understanding more than you, Dani?

Once again, the two friends begin arguing, leaving Tanner having to calm the group down.

Micah enters the student center to wait for his last class of the day. He looks near the cafeteria area, which is packed with hungry students. He opts for a snack at the college bookstore. He enters and takes in the environment; school sweatshirts and merch surround the store, with snacks and drinks towards the front. He grabs a snack and heads to the front of the bookstore.

Micah: Hi, Rosie.

The girl at the register has big, curly hair with streaks of colors in it. She wears a septum piercing, all back clothing, and her name tag, which reads “Rosie” on it. Micah met Rosie on campus one day a couple of months ago, but haven’t seen her since. He’s quite shocked she’s even still working at the bookstore, considering how much she expressed hating it.

Rosie: Hi.

She scans the item into the register.

Rosie: That’s gonna be $3.57.

Micah reaches for his bag to take out his wallet. In the meantime, he chats with Rosie.

Micah: So, how’s business here at the bookstore?

Rosie: Fine, I guess?

Micah takes his wallet out and gives Rosie the money. He waits for his change back.

Micah: Bad day?

Rosie looks up from the register at Micah. Micah uncomfortably looks away, trying to avoid the conversation completely. She hands him his change and receipt. He smiles politely and leaves the store.

His phone rings in his pocket, to which he answers it once he notices the person calling him.

Micah: Hey babe, listen I wanted to talk to you about tonight…

Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021, Voiceless Rant: The Series

Day 4: A Voiceless Rant: December 2021 Edition.

Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!

It’s been so long since one of these bad boys were posted on the blog! This series, in particular, was created during a time in my life where I felt voiceless in a world where there were louder voices. I started this series as an attempt to be completely uncensored about how I was feeling and to show readers that I was more than what meets the eye. After 4 years of this series being on and off, it’s kind of funny to see how much I’ve grown away from this series, and how much I actually found my voice throughout the series, and just in life in general.

In other words, here’s this month’s installment of:

This year alone has been one that I truly think I needed in order to get better. I needed to get to a place of rock bottom and uncertainty to lift myself back up and get better clarity of the things that mean a lot to me and what was important to me. It’s crazy, almost being 28 years old and feeling nothing like my 23 or 24 year old self. You truly grow within your years, and I’m so grateful they were for the better.

Because I entered my 20’s still not having my own identity. I went through them still feeling scared, naive, and voiceless when all I wanted to do was to voice what I wanted to voice out. It’s mainly one of the reasons I took up writing; I wanted nothing more to express myself without having anything interrupt it or anything taking my time and space to talk away from me. And these “rants” allowed me to do just that; to have a moment to talk about things that were bothering me and things that I wanted to express my opinions about. It was also the first time I expressed my concern of seeking professional help for my mental health and the stigma it would put on me: the one that was always “kept together” and “strong”. This series brought out some of the most uncomfortable topics in me.

2021 challenged me to project my voice; verbally, and in my writing.

Writing wise, I had to stick up for my narrative within my journal article to peer reviewers who didn’t appreciate my voice being so heavy in an academic piece. I had to defend my voice and the importance of my voice in my papers because too many people lose it in the process.

Verbally, I had to challenge those who took my kindness for weakness and I needed to learn boundaries. While I wanted to voice those boundaries, I was too scared to do so. But, I realized that when you secretly need those things and when your soul tells you that you need something in your life to change, you gotta listen to it. Again, it wasn’t an easy road to get where I’m at, and it took years to finally perfect it in a way that works for me.

When I think back to younger Liz, the early 20’s Liz (and even late teens Liz) I can’t help but be extremely grateful that I made it to be the age I am today. Who would’ve thought that I would be here today and look back and say, “goddamn, you are now living in the mind that you always wanted.” And when I’m in my 30’s, I’ll probably say the same thing again! But to be here and allowed myself the room to grow and better myself instead of ending my life when I was 18, I think I’ll forever be grateful and thankful that there was something in me wanting to push harder and see the good out of things, and in myself.

And I think for the most part, this series played its role and did what it needed to do for me. I think it gave me the space and time needed to express and project my voice when I couldn’t do it in real life. And because of that, this series will always remind me where I once was, and how far I’ve come since then.

See you when I see you next, Voiceless rants.

The "Something" Series, Twelve Letters of Lizmas: 2021

Day 3: Something for the Heartbreak: A Scene.

Restaurant Front 90 Night - Picture of Khushi's Restaurant, Dunfermline -  Tripadvisor

The three men continue to walk up to Ari, who just put her cigarette out and placed her lighter in her purse. Jamie, being the man in the middle, gets his composure together and stops in front of Ari.

Ari: You must really like New York if you keep coming back here the way you do.

Jamie smiles the insult away.

Jamie: Just here for work. *towards the other men* These are my friends, Shawn and Kevin.

The two guys awkwardly bow in front of Ari.

Ari: Nice to meet you guys.

Jamie: Are you here tonight with your boyfriend?

Ari: *corrects* Fiancee.

Jamie: Congrats on the engagement.

Ari: Thanks.

Nothing else is said between the two until Jamie shifts and clears his throat.

Jamie: Well, we better get going. It was nice seeing you, Ari.

Ari doesn’t say anything. She just stands there as the en walk past her, continuing down the block. Ari quickly goes into the restaurant.

Ari walks in and goes back to sit at the bar with Grace. She looks at the counter where there is 3 empty glasses already next to Grace.

Ari: Goddamn, bitch! I’ve only been away for like 10 minutes!

Grace laughs harder than she should’ve at the comment. Ari knows Grace is drunk already.

Grace: What took you so long anyway, like I ‘ready hadda like, 3 drinks without ‘chu?

Ari loudly sighs and sits at the counter. The bartender comes to the ladies.

Grace: My man! Gimme a–

Ari covers Grace’s mouth.

Ari: Get her water, please.

She looks at Grace, who has a pouty face on. Ari rolls her eyes.

The three men walk into a restaurant; it’s mediocre for the city. Shawn and Kevin look around the place, not impressed with Jamie’s choice in venue.

Shawn: Hyung, we’ve been to better places in Korea than… this.

Jamie takes in a deep breath and walks towards a booth. Shawn and Kevin sit on one side of the booth, and Jamie sits on the other side on his own.

Kevin: I thought we were going to that place that we passed by?

Jamie doesn’t say anything, he just looks at the menu in front of him. Kevin waits for him to answer him.

Kevin: *annoyed* Hyung?

Jamie: *snappy* Mwo?

Kevin: Why are we here?

The waiter comes by with a notepad and pen in her hand. She looks at the three men, annoyed that the two sitting together don’t answer back quickly. Jamie chimes in and orders for the group. The waiter just walks away, without saying anything.

Shawn: It’s true what they say about Americans…

Jamie: *stern* Ya.

The guys stay quiet, until Kevin speaks up.

Kevin: Who was that lady?

Shawn: Yeah, she definitely didn’t look like–

Kevin: *nudges Shawn* Hyung!

Jamie looks at the two guys and takes a deep breath.

Jamie: Ari is Grace’s friend.

The guys nod their heads in understanding.

Shawn: But why couldn’t we just eat at that other place she was at?

Kevin: I mean, she was with her fiancee, no?

Jamie: She wasn’t in there with her partner. She was with Grace.

The guys don’t say anything. The drinks arrive to the table.

Jamie: She didn’t want to say, and it’s better if she didn’t.

Kevin: Did you and Grace really end things on a bad note like that?

Jamie doesn’t answer, he just chugs his drink down, telling the waiter to give him another one.

The lights go on in an apartment. Grace walks in, and kicks off her shoes. She tosses her purse on the floor and sways her way to the kitchen. Ari and Emerson walk into the apartment after her.

Ari: Thanks for driving her home, Em.

Emerson: Wouldn’t be the first time I did this.

They both look at Grace, who reaches in her cabinet for the biggest bag of chips she owns.

Emerson: At least she’s learning to keep her alcohol in.

Ari: Jeez, thanks for pointing out her alcoholic tendencies. *gathers her stuff* I have to make it home to Dean, let me know if she’s gonna be okay?

Emerson: Yeah.

Ari leaves the apartment. Emerson turns around and sees Grace slumped on her couch, hand deep into the chips bag. Emerson walks over to Grace and sits on the sofa chair next to her.

Grace: Sorry that Ari got you in the middle of this mess.

Emerson: We’re family; you know I’m always here to help out.

Grace doesn’t say anything.

Emerson: So… what got you wasted like this tonight?

Grace: *annoyed* Don’t do that. Not every time I get drunk is because my life is turmoil or some shit. *even louder* Can’t I just go out and get drinks with Ari without it meaning anything?!

Emerson: Ari was not merely as drunk as you are, Grace.

Grace rolls her eyes and tosses the bag of chips to the side.

Grace: Well, thank you for fucking up my night by making me think.

Emerson gets up from his seat.

Emerson: That’s why I’m here! Whatever got you all fucked up like this, I hope it gets better. You’ve been so–

Grace: *snappy* So what?

Emerson: … on edge lately. I’m just trying to help you get over whatever has you in this mood.

Grace: I hate the winter.

Emerson is confused about the random statement Grace said, so he chooses to ignore it.

Emerson: I have to get going. Cami would rip my dick off if I’m not home with this night’s pregnancy cravings.

Grace shuts her eyes.

Grace: See you later.

Emerson grabs his coat and walks out of the front door. Grace slumps down on the sofa, forcing herself to sleep.