To Mani, with Love.

I am going to spend the rest of my life trying to be the person Mani thought I could be.

Her memory pushes me toward goodness, toward boldness, toward love and light alike. When I read her words, I can almost feel her arms around me – quiet, soft, the slightest shift in the universe that allows us to be together for a breath. Since her passing, a day has not moved forward without a moment for her and her alone. Usually I find those times when I’m outside. I trace her name in cloud formations. I hear her laugh in the rain.

Mani told me once that I would’ve liked the storms in Durango, the way the thunder ricocheted against the mountains. She invited me down and I intended to visit in the spring.

Her absence grants a new weight to the presence of my friends. I marvel more often at their existence – I am louder in my love than ever before. Her memory guides my self-love, too. The night before I left my abusive ex, I dreamt about her for the first time and her memory gave me the courage to go. My walk to work on the day I quit was filled with her voice, her words, her heart. I imagined what she would say about my manager’s cruelty. I knew she would never want me to suffer and, for that reason, I was strong enough to resign my position.

As I write this post, I am rereading the letter she gave me when I left high school and I am in awe. It almost feels like bragging to share her words, but I feel the intense desire to show how her love made me see myself differently – as if we could do anything, as if I could be anyone because of how she loved me.

“Dear Krista,

Hello! I just wanted to write you a little letter, mostly because I think you deserve it and I don’t know if you hear these things enough. I think you are one of the most beautiful people I know, not only on the outside (which you are) but inside. You are so good to everyone. You make me so envious – no that’s not the right word. You make me want to strive to be a better person. You just show me that there can be such beauty and kindness in the world, and every time I’m feeling like all there is badness and ugliness, I see you and I just know that there’s got to be something better out there. I know life isn’t perfect for you, and if I could take all the bad in your life and live it for you, I would. If I could carry all your burdens for you, I would. Because of every person I’ve met in my whole life deserves it it’s you. You deserve everything good life has to offer. And I wanted to tell you these things because your going to go to college soon, and I wanted you to sincerely know that you’ve changed my life. You’ve given me a goal to strive for, a person to want to be, and shown me that there is such beauty in the world. I didn’t want you to go without hearing these things because they are true, and I’m too much of a weenie to say them in person. I’m only sorry that I can’t give you more than this lousy note. I’ll always remember you, Krista Lee, and the profound significance you’ve had on my life.

Mani Nitara E.

PS – I know you’re not graduating for like two more months but my hope is that knowing these things will help you through those two months. It might not. And maybe you’ll read this and go “Gee that Mani is weird” but I thought you ought to know that someone thinks highly of you. I love you deeply, Krista. You’ll change the whole world someday just like you changed me.

PPS – That wasn’t supposed to sound so cheesy, but whatever.”

Mani, this wasn’t a lousy note. I am still becoming, but I promise I will carry you with me wherever I go. I’ll continue to seek you out in constellations, in clouds, in dreams. Soon enough, I’ll have your words etched into my skin with ink and we will never be apart again.

I love you, kiddo.


I always will.


A Different Kind of Today

I am not succinct. I envy those who can write cleanly, those who don’t abuse commas and easily trim run-on thoughts. I am long-winded and reaching, always reaching, for connections and reasons and substance.

That’s who I am, you know?

And it carries through to almost every facet of my life. Very rarely can I let things pass unsaid. For example, I point out every wonderful thing I see on car trips – “look, a cow! do you see that windmill? those clouds are so FLUFFY. I’m pretty sure I saw a duck.”

I suspect this trait makes my company an acquired taste, but I hardly mind. I find myself amongst openhearted and loving people who accept these quirks with a laugh.

With that in mind, here are two pages from my latest watercolor chapbook. They are short and not so sweet, but I’m proud of them all the same.

“I’m sorry – someone’s at the door and I thought I made it pretty clear that this house fire was intentional – can I call you back?”
“I used to think it was romantic, the idea of breaking down each other’s walls, now I’m starting to see that it’s a coding violation and the landlord is calling the authorities.”



On Writing (this blog)

Let’s be honest with each other.

I have a second blog — or rather, this is my second blog, the one I deemed safe for my family and more distant friends. It’s Facebook friendly. I write about assault but provide no details, I explain my brighter thought patterns, I am honest but vague. But if you’ve spent any time with me, you know that I have an annoying habit of saying everything. I’m not so much an open book as I am a magic mirror, rehashing and justifying and pleading as I try to make sense of these stories.

But I wanted to have a space to reach out, if only slightly. To speak in a way that could be comfortably share with almost-strangers and people who have known me since I was small.

My other blog has way more swears and graphic details, more terribly honest stories and accounts of abuse and nights spent crying and days spent thoroughly rutted in depression. But I knew I didn’t want my family to be exposed to that, so instead I revived this one. ‘Krista Takes the World.’ And I think I will, but that’s not the point here. The point is, I created a space because my parents were sad that I wouldn’t share my writing with them and I love my parents. And I’m a sucker for praise because, let’s face it, I require attention to live.

But is it honest to write like this, so selectively, avoiding hot button topics and general themes so that my words are digestible for the public? Is it honest to write and delete posts every week just because I know I don’t want my family’s worried whispers to trail after me? Is it honest or is it cowardly to hide the stories that would put people on edge?

I’m still sorting that out. Especially since my blog became a weird component in me leaving my job — I’ve become painfully aware that, despite my intentions, my writing is up for grabs the moment I publish it. At the same time, I am not presenting my full story if I leave out my mental health issues, my illness, and my disability.

For the most part, you as a reader are here for one of two reasons: you either enjoy me as a person and want to see what my brain’s doing or you enjoy my writing and are pleasantly surprised that I’m also a person. In other words, most of you are here because you know me. If knowing more about me and the struggles I face somehow devalue me in your eyes, I’m not entirely sure I want to know you.


I’m mapping out what I want this space, my space, to become. I’ll continue writing the nitty-gritty elsewhere, but I’m striving to be more honest here too. If I write something that makes you nervous, or worried, or scared, please remember – I am a person first. Talking to me rather than about me shows that you’ve remember I’m a person, too. I share these stories both to remind everyone that we’re not alone in our struggles and to work through everything around me.

So yes, this PTSD-riddled major-depressive-disordered hard-of-hearing ball of anxiety will keep writing and sometimes (oftentimes) the stories will not be pretty. And that’s okay. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to write them, but I’ll try not to mind if you don’t read them. We’ll just keep existing parallel to each other, touching base however makes us both comfortable.


Oh, and one last note — even at my darkest, even with my most difficult struggles, I feel so thankful for my life as it is today. My god, this is legions beyond what I ever imagined I would have when I was growing up. This is good, my friends. This is more than I dreamed and I’m still reaching upward. We’re going to be okay.