chapter two

I have somehow found myself staring out a window again.  Here I am, about to embark on this incredible new tour adventure, the person sitting next to me on the plane is very friendly, but I turn my attention to the fluffy sky outside.


Perhaps this is my fate, a constant observer not participating in the happenings of the world. The eternal wallflower.

Now, the only child in me might be talking, but I honestly don’t mind. I like this and sometimes prefer it. My thoughts are clearer, ideas more vivid. Nothing is influencing me one way or another; I am a blank canvas to react to whatever sensory phenomenon comes my way. And generally I don’t get major FOMO.

Back in high school I would have said I was an extrovert. A crazy, weirdo, can’t sit still extrovert who consistently surrounded herself with her friends. My mom even joked she’d send the other parents child support, I was with them so often!

I was never home! Between rehearsals, extra-curriculars, and social activities I busied myself with exciting new experiences, forsaking activities that I used to enjoy alone for silly adventures with friends.

They made it easy to want to be around them, my friends. I was very blessed to grow up with some incredible people. I cherish their friendships now, especially now, since steadfast real friends are hard to come by with my…nomadic lifestyle. 


To this day, I’m still rarely home. I’m constantly busying myself with and worrying about the next thing. I like to plan, but sometimes I get too lazy. I fall behind. I time things out poorly and don’t get everything done. It’s a vicious cycle of checks and balances called “Kirstin, please get your life together.” (I can do it, guys!!)

So…I like this. Zoning out, looking out the window.

It’s like my little sanctuary away from the hectic parts of life I can’t control, my little moment of real. Of calm. A place where I can stop and really listen to my surroundings and most importantly, me.

At times like this I’m drawn to the inner workings of my mind and inquiring about others’. That’s the sad plot line of every story ever, eh?

“What are they thinking? Do they like me? Are they mad at me? I wonder what’s wrong…what’s going on through their head?”

Do you ever sit and think, “Wow. The human mind is incredibly fascinating?” It’s beyond comprehension to me, how we work, think, feel.

I find it hard enough to be real with my wants and needs! I can’t imagine what others must be thinking, how exactly they operate. I never want to assume their reality too much; people are too complex. They’re all inherently unique. People infatuate me.

Some can run themselves to the ground with their work ethic and aspirations. Some quit before they even start. Some surrender themselves and their thoughts to the pressure of others with seemingly louder voices than themselves. Some lie to themselves to escape their reality.

Is that so sad to say? I don’t think so. I think people lose their way sometimes. After all, there are a thousand sensory experiences nowadays that can distract and persuade. It makes it hard to stay true to oneself.

I think a lot of people make excuses for their lifestyles and the people around them because they want to be happy. They want everything to be better. They squeeze all the joy they can out of the happier moments and live off that for a while but stay silent to what’s wrong and needs fixing in their lives. Things they actually have control over.

I have been that person, some rough days I still am.

I could never be honest with myself; what I needed, what was good for me, what actually lifted me up. I was too afraid to come to grips with my reality since it was so far from what I wanted. I let my surroundings mold me negatively. I let people take advantage of my silence. I let people run over me. I stopped checking in on myself and focused elsewhere, anywhere but the disappointment I’d become.

You know what I’ve found to be most important, what I was missing?


Taking a break from external hardships and focusing on awareness of oneself and others.

Maybe that sounds basic. But looking back on my life, I know I squashed the little voice inside me because I was too afraid to let it out to face the big guys. I wasn’t true to myself.

I have found that it’s so important to be aware and open to what people around you need by listening to them, even picking up on what they don’t say with words. Nothing is more beautiful than checking out of worries you can’t change and listening to what’s around you…barking, laughter, the ocean (the baby screaming on this airplane for example…).

But what’s most important is truly recognizing, accepting, and listening to yourself!! The cheesy “you have to love yourself before you can fully love another” is SO true, and it’s that much more rewarding when you get there.

I’ve finally gotten to a point where I am the happiest by being honest with myself, accounting mistakes and everything! I now make sure to recognize my weaknesses so that I don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. I readjusted my priorities so that they align with my life goals. I let go of relationships that distracted or inhibited me and tried to see situations for what they truly were, not what I wished they’d be.

I’ve never been happier.

I’ve never felt more complete as me, Kirstin Maldonado.

Besides the obvious blessings I have with my work, I finally am more in tune with myself than I ever have been. I’m more honest, more real. I don’t feel a burden to live up to somebody’s perception of me. If anything, I aspire to shine brighter than ever before!

Initially I wanted to write this about what a thrilling Fourth of July weekend I had, but you know what I did? I sat on the couch with my boyfriend Jeremy and had a movie marathon. I cuddled my dog/son Olaf until he stopped struggling out of my grasp and just laid there defeated (yay!).

Cuddling Baby

I didn’t throw a party. I may have put my patriotic tank on at some point to get the food delivery downstairs (haha). At one point, Jeremy and I went to the roof of our apartment and watched the fireworks…a 360 view of sparkles from surrounding areas in Los Angeles.

But…nothing special from the outside eye. And that’s what makes it ten times as special to me.

Honestly that day, all we needed was our home and each other’s company. And now as I fly away, that’s what I treasure.

July 4th Kisses

Stupid inside jokes. Spontaneous singing in harmony that would totally weird anyone else out. My dog being the sweetest cuddle bunny. Grubbing on some food.

That’s all I need. I used to overexert myself because I felt I needed to be a thousand places and see a million people, but my true sanctuary is home. It’s with the few friends that are real. Spending time with family. It’s about taking care of myself, so that I am well enough to give love to others.

So as I gaze out the window, I keep these memories close to me, the good and the bad.  They keep me grounded. They keep me motivated for a brighter future.

To be honest, I’m afraid, even though I don’t want to be. This website process has been vulnerable and exciting at the same time.

But…I’m so ready! I know in my heart I am strong enough to take those leaps and hopefully bring others up along the way.

All I have to do, is listen.



P.S. For those of you wondering what FOMO means, Urban Dictionary (lol) defines the abbreviation as “fear of missing out.” Don’t worry, I didn’t know that either until this year…so…the irony, eh?

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