Patience listens up

When I’ve run out of words to say, sometimes all it takes is a little help from your friends. Please enjoy this collaboration with a fellow writer and a dear friend.

And please do yourself a favor by checking out his blog.

All this thunder

Hi All,

A fun change this month – a new look! Collaborator/longtime friend/cousin Katie Hands graciously shared her work for this post in addition to tips on site design. Katie is a wonderful writer, and hosts her own blog, here. Please take a look.

This month we focused in on the theme of Patience – one that both of us have been wrestling through lately. It’s a trying time. As we know. The search for patience can sometimes feel like a lost cause. However, time takes its time. Brighter days. The revolution must be joyous.


Days gone by
by Katie Hands

There are many things
I never told you
Because I didn’t take the time

The words spilled out
Inside my head
Drowning out the rest

Those words I spoke
But didn’t speak
Haunt me to this day

There are many things
I should have said
But couldn’t…

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2016 Film Rankings

“Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again.” – The English Patient


In February of 1996, The English Patient, a story of a fateful love affair told in flashbacks, won Best Picture.

20 years later, in February of 2016, Moonlight, a chronicle of the childhood, adolescence and adulthood of a young, gay black man, growing up in Miami, won Best Picture.

2016 has been a year filled with groundbreaking films, ceiling shattering actors, producers & directors and it’s a year of film not to be forgotten. This is my list of all the movies I saw in theaters in 2016, from favorite to least favorite.

**These are strictly my opinion and my opinion only**

  1. Moonlight – 3 Wins (Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Adapted Screenplay) & 8 Nominations (Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Original Score, Adapted Screenplay)
  2. Hidden Figures – 3 Nominations (Best Picture, Actress in a Supporting Role, Adapted Screenplay)
  3. The Witch
  4. 10 Cloverfield Lane
  5. Zootopia – 1 Win (Animated Feature Film) & 1 Nomination (Animated Feature Film)
  6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 1 Win (Costume Design) & 2 Nominations (Costume Design, Production Design)
  7. Captain America: Civil War
  8. Moana – 2 Nominations (Animated Feature Film, Original Song)
  9. Kubo and the Two Strings – 2 Nominations (Animated Feature Film, Visual Effects)
  10. Finding Dory
  11. Nocturnal Animals – 1 Nomination (Actor in a Supporting Role)
  12. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 1 Nomination (Sound Mixing)
  13. Deadpool
  14. La La Land – 6 Wins (Actress in a Leading Role, Cinematography, Directing, Original Score, Original Song, Production Design) & 13 Nominations (Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Original Score, Original Song, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Screenplay)
  15. Doctor Strange – 1 Nomination (Visual Effects)
  16. Star Trek Beyond – 1 Nomination (Makeup and Hairstyling)
  17. The Lobster – 1 Nomination (Original Screenplay)
  18. Ghostbusters
  19. The Edge of Seventeen
  20. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  21. X-Men: Apocalypse
  22. The Light Between Oceans
  23. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi – 1 Nomination (Sound Mixing)
  24. Eddie the Eagle
  25. The Boy
  26. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
  27. Assassin’s Creed
  28. The 5th Wave
  29. The Legend of Tarzan
  30. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
  31. The Girl on the Train
  32. Office Christmas Party
  33. The Forest
  34. Jason Bourne
  35. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  36. Knights of Cups

An Open Letter to Bryan Fuller

I’ve been in a daze these last few days. I’m somewhere between complete serenity and a glass case of emotion.

All of which is because of you Bryan Fuller and your gut-wreching, tear-jerking, cringeworthy, nothing short of beautiful, masterpiece that is Hannibal.

I’ve come to find that most of my emotional experiences come from the books I’ve read. My imagination is given the ability to take the emotion to heart or leave it on the page. With television, you see the emotion right in front of you. That can either heighten your own emotions or it can lessen them. Words–and their ability to make us feel multiple emotions at once– tend to make me more emotional than the visual I usually see.

However, this wasn’t the case with the series finale of HannibalUnknown-1

The word spoken and their visual affect gave me one of the most visceral experiences I’ve had in a long time. I was thrown all around the emotional spectrum and I’ve just now found my way back. I experienced disgust, pain, self-realization (leading to self-actualization), fear, love and finally understanding. Understanding of the self, others, and the world around us.

The story of the Red Dragon brought out the broad range the human being (and thus its psyche) has the ability to go through. The realization of just how much a person is capable of when put in the right circumstances. Just how far you’re willing to push yourself or let yourself be pushed. How close you can come to the edge and the sudden realization that there isn’t always a way back. And finding acceptance in that inevitability.

Many of my emotions could have come from the basic knowledge that Hannibal is indeed over. Which I sure many of them did. After all, the final course has ended and the table has been cleared. But my cravings are far from subsiding.

When I first started watching Hannibal, my initial focus became about the gruesome and the grotesque. How disturbing what I was watching actually was. But that’s not what has stuck with me through these 3 short years. Instead, Bryan, you’ve given me characters that I can’t get out of my head. The relationships they acquire and develop as the series goes on is what kept me coming back for more.

Will Graham and Hannibal Lector. Two of the most real depictions of the vast range of humanity I’ve seen on tv in a long time. Their individual selves are complicated. But those complications are nothing short of human (whether morality and/or empathy is included in that depends on the individuals thought on what it means to be human). So human, in fact, that when asked to describe their relationship to someone who has never seen the show, I find it to be a massive feat. (Once I obviously stop gushing about the fact that they should immediately stop what they’re doing and watch it).

The Will-Hannibal relationship is at many times indescribable. They love each other and they hate each other. They mistrust their trust in each other. They understand what is commonly misunderstood about each other. They put up walls against each other and yet they are laid raw in front of the other. Their honestly comes in fragments but those truths come together in the end. Because the simple truth is, at the end of the day, they need each other. They need each other, like they need air to breathe. Like Will needs his dogs and Hannibal needs his cutlery. Will and Hannibal are two individuals who have managed the incredible feat of becoming one with another person on multiple levels.

Hannibal has taught me many things about the human condition in the most elegant, bloody and beautiful way possible. We all want to be needed. We all want to be understood. We all want to be accepted. Realizing you need someone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If this needing leads to self-actualization in some way, maybe it’s the best thing for you.

UnknownBut please don’t misunderstand me Bryan, I have no naive misgivings about what’s really going on here. Will and Hannibal have time and time again destroyed each other. They relationship is nothing short of destructive. Hannibal is a murderer. He’s Hannibal the Cannibal. But Hannibal is also human. A human who has crossed over to the other side and doesn’t have a way back. Although I cannot say that he necessarily wants one. Will Graham is also human and has consistently struggled with his own becoming. As we all do, I suppose.

These men aren’t the role models to seek out. But they represent a struggle that we, as human beings, go through on a daily basis. Discovering an understanding about ourselves in and of itself is difficult. But learning to accept, question, and come to terms with the things we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what we will do is a whole different beast. But this can lead us to who we really are, after it all.

We all have our own journeys to take and Hannibal has taken me on a journey. A journey that I refuse to let end. Hannibal showed us human greatness and let us know that our capabilities are endless.

Thank you, Bryan and your brilliant and effervescent team, for giving me everything I didn’t know I needed. I will continue to savor every second of it.

An Ode to My Mad Fat Diary

In homage to season 3 of My Mad Fat Diary premiering Monday June 22nd, I thought I would write down everything I’ve learned from the past 2 seasons.MMFD2

This is one of the few shows that I’ve watched that has gotten through to the very core of my emotional soul. I have never laughed more, cried more, felt more or connected more with a show and its characters. It’s a show that gets me through the dark days and helps me to understand myself and to accept the full capacity I have to live the life I want to live.

For that, I have nothing but gratitude.

So here we go:

  1. Some people are holding on to life by their fingertips. If you’re given the chance to start over, take it. Grab it and don’t let go. It might just be the best thing  you ever do. It might just help you learn to breathe again.
  2. Don’t sit on the sidelines and let life pass you by. Happiness starts with you. If you want to have friends, get out there and make friends. If you want to enjoy yourself, go and enjoy yourself. Don’t let your own fears keep you from doing and having what you want.
  3. Don’t be afraid of your own reflection. Don’t fear what you see in the mirror. It’s okay to look at yourself and say: “Damn, it’s scary how good I look some days.”. It might take a while to believe what you’re saying but keep saying it. Confidence and self-love starts at home.
  4. Stop wishing that there was a Finn Nelson out there. The Finn Nelson that will accept you for you and like you just the way you are. The Finn Nelson that doesn’t care what other people think and wants what he wants simply because he wants it. Be that Finn Nelson instead. Once you learn to accept and love yourself just the way you are, the world will be overflowing with rays of Finn Nelson sunshine. And we’ll all be better for it.
  5. Winston Churchill said: “If you’re going through Hell, keep going”. We all struggle. Some struggle more than others. Some go through their entire lives with a pain in their hearts that even they might never fully understand. But no matter your level of pain, it is justified. Whether it’s your self-esteem or body image, or fear of rejection, your pain is your own. The key is to find a way to own it, learn from it and then move on from it.
  6. The past is your past. But it might not stay in the past. It might try and keep up with you every step of the way and follow you into the future. Don’t dismiss what happened in the past or try to forget about it. What’s been done to you and what you’ve done to yourself shapes who you are. But it doesn’t have to define you. You can still create the person you want to be.
  7. Don’t be afraid that you won’t find true happiness or beauty or love. You can find all of those things in the people you surround yourself with. Find your gang of people that make you laugh, hold you when you cry, listen to what you have to say, keep your secrets, love you for everything that you are and all you are not. These are the people that will help you find everything that you are looking for.
  8. Don’t worry. You will one day find your Finn. And your Chloe. And your Archie. And your Izzy and your Chop. And you will ultimately find your Rae.

Thank you My Mad Fat Diary for giving me everything I didn’t know I needed. Thank you for always being there.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Moved to Tears.”

Today is All There Is

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Worldly Encounters.”

To the friendly, English-speaking extraterrestrial outside my house,

I recommend to you the novel that speaks to me inside and out. And that is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

This story is human nature at its finest. At its most vulnerable. At its great achieve-ability. It not only shows what the world has the ability to be, but it shows us the world as it truly is. It’s dirtperkscollagey and hurtful and cruel and unfair. It’s fearful and explosive and continuously demeaning. But the world is also beautiful and kind and can help heal your soul. It’s accepting and meaningful and unbelievably strong willed.

Between the traumas and hardships and all the self-hating, there’s a hand at the end of the tunnel willing to show you your worth, your importance, your purpose and strength. Its friendship and family and self love and acceptance.

It speaks to everything a person may go through–heartbreak, loss, abuse, mental illness & pain. Love, encouragement, acceptance, understanding & learning–and still find the ability to continue on. To not let life pass you by, but to move along side it. To find strength in your tears and empowerment from the mistakes you’ve made.

To let the past be your past and let the future be that of myths. To remember that today is all there is.

This One’s For You

I never expected to meet someone like you in this life. Sure, I imagined it,–but even then I could never have imagined anyone that would even come close to you–but I never expected it. I’ve come to not expect a lot of things. In fact, you can’t expect anything from anyone or of anything. If you do, you’re more likely to be disappointed. In the short time that we’ve known each other, you’ve never disappointed me. Instead, you continue to surprise me. We’re more alike then I ever could have guessed. I also never thought I would like that so much. You remind me of, well, me.

I have an outstanding amount of affection for you. An affection that was practically instantaneous and only keeps growing the more time we spend together. I can’t wait for the chance to discover everything that you are and I’m more than willing to give you that same chance. In a way, my growing fondness and appreciation for you has transferred over to the feelings I have for my own self. I still may like you more than I like myself, but the journey to self-appreciation is never ending. I’m getting there. Day by day. And I have you to thank for that.

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.”
― John Joseph PowellThe Secret of Staying in Love

Reminisce With Me

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Weaving the Threads.”

Shay wasn’t the sentimental type. Wasn’t one for keeping things for years in shoe boxes collecting dust in the closet. Wasn’t keen on writing things down to remember for years to come. As someone who was very familiar with disappointment, there was never quite a good enough reason to want to keep the outside world fresh in mind. But when coming across an abandoned bookmark outside of a beloved bookshop, things changed. Covered in tiny uni-bomber hand writing, quotes spilled over the edges of the bookmark. Quotes from pages taken from well-known artist and authors, this bookmark gave Shay a new lease on life. Setting a reminder for the reasons why this bookshop was constantly visited. Why there was never enough space on the shelves in the bedroom or living room. Why a backpack or bag was never complete without pages full of laughter, tears, long sought dreams and unbearable heartache. It represented the moment when Shay not only wanted to remember the place inside a book, to remember the world recently jumped out of, but instead to remember every single thing, inside and out.


We shared a lot of things, you and I. We shared clothes and boyfriends and grudges. We shared heartache and happiness and complete utter breakdowns. We shared tissues stained with tears and boxes bought from Girl Scouts. We shared a hard day’s night and sleeping like logs. We were each other’s shrink and each other’s crying shoulder. We were each other’s best friend and each other’s worst enemy. We trusted each other’s flakiness and begrudged each other’s punctuality. This world through your eyes, was the world through mine. Your feeling of the earth, the sky, the grandeur, were also my feelings. We shared the light bright corners and the deep dark crevices. We shared a childhood, you and I. We shared pigtails and food experiments. Scrapped knees and chalk stained clothes. We shared a world on the horizon and infinite possibilities. But there’s one thing that we can no longer share.

The shadowed memory of your heart beating in unison with mine.


You came to me in a dream. A dream of madness and magic and sinful bliss. The light emanating from your body eclipsing all around you and casting it in darkness. I wondered what your presence meant, following me, leading me through this dream space. The spectacle of you was almost too much to bare. I imagined what you would be like in the real world. If you could even exist outside of this wandering plane. If space and time could have only conjured you up. You spoke to me with a roaring voice. One of peace, brightness and understanding. My mind wandered far away. Not wanting to have to truly accept your greatness. Coming towards you, I found that I could only reach so far. You hovered above me, glowing in the light of the skies shooting upward. The ground beneath my feet falling out from under me. You lifted me up and I stood beside you. I feared the falling and ending of this dream. You spoke to me not of endings but beginnings. And when I opened my eyes and the real world once again revealed itself, I realized that you would soon become nothing but a distant memory.

Clueing for Looks, My Dear Watson

Life just isn’t the same without your trusty sidekick. For this week’s writing challenge, tell us about your partner in crime.

Over the years, I’ve share many escapades with multiple people, who, at the time, I called “Best Friend”. There was Nicole, whom I have known since the ripe age of three and was there for the Great Mud Puddle Fiasco of 95′ and the unfortunate Shaky Tree Limb Incident of 97′. No lives were lost in those days, but I learned the hard reality of what it meant to lose visitation rights and the true meaning of “I’m sorry”. There was Hayly, who I met in Kindergarten and had spent most of my adolescence jumping on beds with, lip synching to Backstreet Boys and calling each others places of residence, “Home”. After all, those who defeat the Dollhouse Hoggers during the Siege of the Great Doll’s House of 96′ together, stay together. There was Stacey, who, in grade 4, taught me a great lesson. Your enemies are not your friends, but some friends can easily become your enemies and the green monster is not something to be taken lightly. Then came middle school and puberty struck all around me. There wasn’t a safe zone in sight and there was the constant threat of not just enemy fire but also friendly fire. 7th grade brought to me a person who changed many things for me. She wore the tag of “Best Friend” through the rest of Middle School and through the first 2 years of high school. I look back on those years, not with the fondness that I used to inhabit, but with a better understanding of the confusion and unhappiness I felt in the back of my mind. However, it was during that jaded time in my life when I met the people who have proudly waved the flag of “Friend” and I will continue to wave it right back.

Over the years and through many teen movies, I’ve learned that it’s okay to have more than one best friend. And that I am proud to say I have. The group of people I surround myself with have helped me to grow, to laugh, to dream and to encourage myself. They support my crazed addictions for tv and for Tom Hiddleston. They help empty my pockets by going to any movie, any time. They endure my ranting and raving about books and tv characters and my constant inability to stop myself from using obscure pop culture references. Whether I have known them since 3rd grade, since high school, college or the crazy years after, I am and will continue to pride myself on the luck I had in finding them.

But even within this wonderfully silly group of people, there are two that will always stand out.

To Mai. There is no one like you on this earth. At 4 feet, 11 inches, you are a ball of thunder, laughter and spirit. Your smile and silly jokes always brighten my day. I can always count on you to be there for me whenever I need you and you can always count on me in the same capacity. I miss our late night Walgreen’s Adventures and midnight chats. Our State Street days and late night dinners at that place called Fat Sandwich where we dreamed about something called The Big Fat Ugly, and feeling as though our hearts would explode and our arteries would clot if we took even a single bite. I know you’re far away and I know we don’t talk as often as we used to. But you will and continue to be a Forever Friend.

To Liz. It was band class that brought us together. Those woodwind instruments and marching on the field at halftime. We had a bit of a shaky start. As I recall there were many mentions of falling in ditches and the tossing of snarky comments. But those things we got past. We became the kind of people who can sit together and not say anything and know that we’re thinking the same thing. Like how glorious the mane of Sam Winchester is or how incredibly brilliant J.K. Rowling is and continues to be. We’re far away from each other now but we are always close at heart. Whether we are 500 miles away or 5 minutes, I am truly glad to call you “Best Friend”.

Friendship is a funny thing. If it can endure the test of time and a road less traveled, it can survive anything.

An Ode to Manhattan

We were walking together

Back on 23rd street

And I heard a man say

“I’m glad that he’s dead”

And I thought to myself

What an unfortunate sentiment

From a man who brags about death

And doesn’t even flinch

But speaks in one single breathe

We are alone together

Like the song says

Sitting, not speaking

With our laptops as friends

Watching and listening

To the voices on screen

Who spoke what we thought

But never even said

What was written on the page

From beginning to end

We played many games

Ones of cards and cups

Of Humanity and Kings

So we tore up the world

Like we tore up those pages

And tossed them to the floor

Spilling around us

In a rainbow of faces

You told me a story

Of your late night out

Near the shack with the shakes

And the weather worn benches

A tale of corpses and rat men

Of laughs and still beating hearts

I pictured the worst

As you smiled your best

I dreamed of a day

When we could all be great

But the hardest part is

Simply having to wait

Why Can’t We Be Friends

Do you find it easy to make new friends? Tell us how you’ve mastered the art of befriending a new person.

Most people would say that the easiest way to make friends is to be yourself. I disagree. I think that the easiest and most efficient way to make new friends is to be nice and not be an asshole. The being yourself comes later. No one is going to like you right off the bat if you’re rude to them or make them feel bad about themselves. Just be nice. It’s that simple.

I quote one of my favorite actors, Darren Criss, and say:



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