Right where you are

Moana is one of my favorite Disney princesses. Honestly, what’s not to love? She has these super cool water powers, goes on a long journey to find, ‘where she is,’ and has curly hair I can relate too.

A few days ago I went to Barnes and Nobles. Summer started, like, two weeks ago for me, and regardless of my goal to write every day, it hadn’t been happening. I was stuck at home doing nothing but watching Netflix and occasionally reading. I wanted to write; it sounded great in theory, but I couldn’t convince myself to sit down and do it. I was lacking motivation and inspiration, I felt like the summer had just started, and already it felt like it was ending. I was trapped in my house with nothing but my suffocating four walls to stare at. I felt hopelessly uninspired, and was just going through the motions for a few days. I knew what I needed was a day to myself, in different scenery. I needed to clear my head, be calm, a day with no expectations or normalcy. Anyways, I was still in the ‘school’ mindset, and felt aimless without endless homework and studying to complete. I needed to regroup, if not just to write, a day to think, about anything and everything.

I got to Barnes and Nobles around 12, and I didn’t leave until around 4. I went in and took a deep breath, already motivated and more myself. It was completely refreshing to go in and know that I didn’t have any pressures on me. There were no worries, no expectations, no restrictions. I could just look at books calmly, in a place that makes me happy. So, for the first ten minutes, I just looked around at books. Then I stepped up to the Starbucks inside the Barnes and Nobles and felt breathtakingly reckless. I did something crazy. So, my usual at Starbucks is the Mocha Frappuccino. It has been, since I was about five years old. But when I stood there, looking at the menu, I realized with a jolt that I didn’t want my usual. I wanted something new. Something different. So, feeling refreshingly spontaneous, I ordered some sort of strawberry acai drink with a coconut milk base. It was AMAZING and I was so glad I had deviated from my normal. Now this might not seem like it means a lot, but I felt that it represented what the day meant for me. A day totally different from my normal, a day that was productive, and freeing.

After I had ordered my drink, I sat at a tiny circle table facing the children’s section of books. I pulled my laptop out of my bag, along with my tiny notebook in case I wanted to take notes. I debated listening to music, and then I decided no- I wanted to be all there, listening to everything around me and not tuning out the world. I wanted to be at Barnes and Nobles, not just ‘be there,’ if that makes any sense at all. I opened my laptop to a new word document and thought about where I had left off on the story I’ve been writing so I could continue it. I remember glancing warily at the blank screen and wondering if I could do it. If I could really write as much as I wanted to. I took a deep breath; and started writing. My fingers were flying across the keyboard, and I didn’t want to stop writing. I had felt back to my old self, and it wasn’t difficult to get the words out. I just wrote, without any expectations or distractions. At the end of the day, I had written about 4,000 words. Yeah, I have had better days. Yes, some days the words flow easier than they did that day. But that didn’t matter. I had made a goal, to set aside time to write and actually do it, and I did. I accomplished my goal. That felt better than any 10,000 words I’ve written in a day, and it had never made me so happy.

It seems odd why I mentioned Moana at the beginning for seemingly no reason, but it wasn’t for no reason. Besides the curly hair, I feel we’re a lot alike. In all the time for thinking I had at Barnes and Nobles, I got to thinking about Moana and how real that movie is. All of us have a safe place, a happy place. Somewhere you go when you’re stressed. When you’re longing for change and calm. When you want perspective. When you’re mad. When you’re sad. A place where you can be you. For Moana, that place was the ocean. Maybe for you, its in your room listening to music. Maybe its on your front porch when it’s raining. Sometimes, your ‘happy place,’ isn’t a place at all, but rather, a person; or both. Moana’s ‘person’ was her grandmother. Maybe yours is a parent, a sibling, or a cousin. You can have multiple places like this, and multiple people that have that affect on you.

Personally, my ‘happy place’ is Barnes and Nobles. It’s a place that, to me, has always felt magical. A place to hope and dream. Somewhere that smelt soothingly like a mixture of coffee and books. Ever since I was small, I would dream of having a part-time job at Barnes and Nobles as a teenager. Anytime I stepped into Barnes and Nobles, nothing else existed. None of my worries or concerns or negative thoughts, all that mattered is that I was there. So, I suppose my advice to you is; if you’re stressed and wonder why you can’t get out of a ‘funk,’ go to your ‘happy place’ or talk with your ‘happy person.’ Sorry if you haven’t watched the movie Moana, but if you haven’t, you have seriously been missing out, you should watch it. I feel the relations to Moana’s journey and the metaphorical journey we all take, are really important. I hope you enjoyed my very extended metaphor, thinking about it and making the connection was quite the ‘ah–ha’ moment for me. The movie ‘Moana’ has a lot more to teach than you might think. Have fun finding ‘where you are!’

“The village might think I’m crazy, or say that I drift to far; but once you know what you like, well, there you are!”

Grandma Tala

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