Anticipation is a key component of joy.

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Source, royalty-free.

One of my first childhood memories is my father making unsolicited impressions of Mr. Bean at the dinner table. He was a fan — which made me a fan.

We would spend most Saturday afternoons crouched on the sofa in front of the large screen, waiting for the opening choral theme tune, which always made me a bit anxious and ecstatic. I never really enjoyed any episode as much as I enjoyed those few moments of expectation before it started.

Often, as recent studies suggest, it’s the wait for something to happen rather than the experience itself that excites us. In other words: we revel in the prospect of an event more than in the savoring of that event. That explains why most of us who work a regular 9 to 5 are generally in a good mood on Fridays. Not because Fridays mark the end of the workweek but because they anticipate the prospect of a weekend of fun and rest. …

What if thoughtfulness is the new mindfulness?

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

When I ask friends or family to repeat what they just said to me, the reply is almost always: “Did you zone out again?” I usually like to answer that being zoned out is my natural state; I just zone back in once in a while.

Although I mean it as a joke, there is some truth in my line — one that hints at the possibility that inviting diverse thoughts in our mind instead of rejecting them in the name of presence can sometimes be good for us.

The first time I caught myself spacing out, I was in fourth grade. It was during an award ceremony of a local writing contest I won. That meant I had to stand on a stage in front of about 60 schoolmates while a lady read my story and a guy behind me would make a live drawing out of what she was reading. …

Sometimes we don’t need every answer. Sometimes the question in itself is enough.

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Photo by brooklyn on Unsplash

I apologize for the lousy, clickbait-y title. It’s hard to think clearly when the past year has laid over your head the same foggy blanket the British sky has placed over its roofs. From where I stand, the urban lights are melting behind a thick, white veil of mist, as if filtered through milk. London has never looked more vulnerable, and I have never felt more practical.

I apologize for the title because I don’t know enough to teach anything to anyone, let alone myself. But this is what twenty-twenty has taught me. A non-lesson from a non-year. I am writing it down, pen on paper, fingers on a keyboard, in an attempt to remember. …

If it’s not painful, it’s not worth the effort.

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Photo by Mihály Köles on Unsplash

According to psychological research, putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine — nature’s make-you-happy chemical. This region of the brain is only activated when we see or experience completely new things. In other words: we only grow when we seek the unfamiliar, the unknown, the uncomfortable.

Few people enjoy feeling uncomfortable. It’s much easier to hide, to stay, to avoid risks, to never leap, to never begin. But the change we are looking for is often in the discomfort we are avoiding.

We tell ourselves that things will change — that we will change. But we don’t realize that change never happens in the future. It always starts in the present. And more often than not, it starts when it’s the only option left. …

Sometimes sincerity takes a few drafts

Nine Post-Its attached to the wall with a woman’s hand grabbing one
Nine Post-Its attached to the wall with a woman’s hand grabbing one
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

This is not an article on how to make your verbs active and your prose less cluttered. Not because word economy and voice aren’t important. But because they won’t make you a good writer. Punctuation and syntax are a must, but they don’t do the work for you.

It doesn’t matter how good you are; it only matters what you leave on the page.

You can make your sentences sing. You can discern an asyndeton from a polysyndeton. You can spot a comma splice. Perhaps you know who Stanley Fish is. You can play by the rules, but ultimately they don’t matter if you don’t have a container in which to put them. …

It’s what we lose that allows us to find ourselves.

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Photo: Matthew Tkocz/Unsplash

Something we fail to realize until it’s often too late is that plans are not guaranteed outcomes. They are possible results.

We often grow up assuming that life will go accordingly to our plans and that one day everything will fall into place. We assume that we will get there and become the person we always wanted to be, by the sheer virtue of intention. We go through life, we stumble, we hesitate, we fail, we make new plans. We struggle so much that we assume this means we are going to win one day.

It does not.

For most of my life, I thought I was going to climb the corporate ladder one day. So I studied, I kept my grades up, joined University, only to realize that everything I have thought I wanted meant nothing to me. No one wants to face the fact that they might have been wasting years of their life and a substantial amount of money chasing a dream it never belonged to them in the first place. Most importantly, no one wants to let go of the only way they imagined their future to be. It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. But to me, the fear of being stuck somewhere I didn’t belong was far worse than the fear of not knowing what’s next. …

Poem #20

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Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

She carries the echoes
of a thousand previous worlds,
she sells heartbreaks door to door
for a glimpse of happiness
and a glimpse less of solitude.
Her hands are too big to hold anything,
her eyes too bright to see what others see.

Like water, she could hold a ship, yet
everything seemed to slip
through her fingertips.
“How much for somewhere I can fit?”
But you can’t buy your peace of mind,
no one sells smiles by the gram,
not to the daughter of another time.

Not to those who spent their life
looking back
instead of looking up.

Sea Silk, my debut collection of poetry is available now.

You can’t figure out what you want until you figure out what you don’t want.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

From the age of fourteen to the age of twenty-three, I have felt stuck in a body that didn’t belong to me. I tried to change it. I stopped eating, only to find out that the problem wasn’t my body. Some mornings I would wake up, sit in a corner of my bed, and ask myself ‘What day is it again?’ as if there was any point in knowing. Life was one big blur and I existed on autopilot.

Since the day I decided that I wasn’t going to wake up unexcited about life again, I learned that we don’t heal ourselves and then go get hurt again so we can heal some more. We just get better at dealing with our emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. Healing is never a fixed-term job, it’s always a work in progress. …

Poem #19

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Photo by Riki Ramdani on Unsplash

Your breath last night,
a story yet to be told,
notes of nothingness,
of peach and wood,
of musk and mud,
and something else
I can’t quite catch.

What are we — after all –
if not a mark in space,
a fraction of a moment,
a flash of eternity,
the time it takes to tell a joke.

Sea Silk, my debut collection of poetry is available now.

What does control look like in a world that sometimes seems out of control?

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Photo by Jeryd Gillum on Unsplash

People often ask me: Why are you so calm? Can you teach me? To that, I usually don’t know what to answer. It’s like asking a tomato why are you so tomato-y?

But if I think about it, I haven’t always been so self-aware and collected. It took a couple of breakdowns, a bunch of unpredicted revelations, and a painful amount of self-imposed discipline for me to get to this state of — at least apparent — stillness.

I’m not talking about apathy. Apathy is the absence of emotion. Stillness is the art of deciding which emotions are worth your attention and which are not. A quiet mind is not about not giving a damn. …


Marianna Saver

I write to understand what I don’t know. I also send weekly love notes:

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