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"If a story is in you it has to come out." –William Faulkner

I’ll admit that I’m a failed blogger. And yet I can’t help to do it, so here we are. I don’t know how in my 33 years of living (especially during the 17 of which was under the roof of my late-poet-father) I’ve never heard this quote by William Faulkner until recently – “If a story is in you it has to come out.” 

The phrase sums up the reason I’m here, typing this. Writing literally haunts me. Call it compulsive or whatever. I’ve journaled consistently since I was eight years old and writing to me is the equivalent to my coffee or alcohol consumption. I suppose I could live without writing, but it would take a convulsive detoxing process. Just kidding about the alcohol thing (I think). The point is, I can’t help but write. It’s a bit of a curse, really.

Being an over-analytical, self-conscious Virgo keeps me from sharing my writing in a more confident, consistent and public way. But being a digital marketer, constantly absorbed in the abundance of glamorous foodie/fashion/travel blogs keeps me constantly inspired (and admittedly, jealous) that so many people have found the courage within themselves to tell their stories So– (why the fuck not?)… here’s mine.

I’m an LA-based social media marketer and brand journalist who was born in West Virginia (living as a child in a place called The Holler– seriously) and raised in Phoenix (where my aforementioned late-father used to describe as “the God-forsaken hole that even the Devil himself wouldn’t venture.”). I’m the oldest of three and we grew up very poor – I mean, poorer than you’re probably thinking. Which makes me feel that hardcore Imposter Syndrome that so many of us spoiled Millennial professionals can relate to. So I guess this is my rags-to-riches story. Just kidding. Well… kind of. I have to say, my life is more than I ever expected. So that feels weird and incredible and unfathomable and strangely shameful in a strange way. But more on that later.

This year I’ve started a new little venture – my website Social Media Republic, dedicated to social media resources for the fashion industry. So technically I’m launching two websites this year.

Ambitious, I know.

Especially since I’m still working full-time (in the marketing department of a leading west coast design college) and raising a small human that my Baby-Daddy and I call Mazy Olivia. To bunny trail…My daughter is three now and her name is Mason (so she has a better chance at being called by hiring managers in a couple decades from now. Seriously.) I gave her a super vanilla American name, which saddens me sometimes because I’m half-Korean, half-Irish with a Hindu-inspired name and actually really value my ethnic ambiguity. But my other half and I did give her a male name intentionally, which felt super rebellious until Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds went and named their daughter James. So now I guess we’re just part of a trend. Ugh. Such a stereotypically hippie-loving, kale-eating Angeleno thing to do. But, what can you do? But, I digress. The point is, I’m busy and could probably do without writing blog posts for two websites, but again– it’s my curse and compulsion to write.

Anyway, I am hoping that Social Media Republic is useful and amazing and I love being able to share my professional passions with others. But, you can’t say “fuck” on a professional website upon which I’m trying to convince my peers of my expertise, hence this site– yet another in a long string of failed blogging attempts.

Ugh, it’s so narcissistic to tell one’s story publicly, isn’t it? But I suppose what motivates me to share my story are the women who might be reading this. Those who are like I once was– young, scared, depressed and hopelessly wishing that their life will change. Mine has changed– and I’m actually, fairly, at least temporally happy. Well, maybe not happy, but satisfied which is even better. So I’m hoping this will be a space where I’ll try to talk about how I managed to escape dysfunction and poverty for a life that I sometimes think is an alternative universe that I’ve conjured up in a virtual reality game a few decades from now. (Think about it… this could really all be like a Matrix-situation, people).

I’d love for you to read my personal stories here, but either way I’ll be in my corner of the Internet, furiously writing away like the madwoman I can’t help but be. So welcome to my random musings– hopefully they are a value to you, if not anything except mildly amusing. And please follow my Instagram account @maniobrien because I spend a lot of time painfully curating my feed and I’ll follow you back if you tell me that you read my blog post.

 

 

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Second Glance

With all of the distractions that we face every single moment of these overly informed, visually over-saturated, social media/Internet-driven modern day lives, it’s hard to stay focused.

When it comes to creation of any kind– whether it’s art/writing/design/fashion/music…  I think a good rule of thumb is to attempt to make it worth the second read, a second glance, a second visit, a second listen– worth a second second in a world in which time is everything.

Personally, this theory translates to my everyday life decisions. Don’t do anything that’s just not worth your precious seconds. Here’s to staying true to yourself, and to having integrity in everything you do.

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” -Cecil Beaton

Image via: Tang Yau Hoong

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It’s time to eliminate “sorry” from your repertoire. Lena Dunham touched on an all-too-familiar feeling in a recent essay Sorry, Not Sorry: My Apology Addiction on a topic that so many of us can relate to.

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Mani O'Brien

Mani O'Brien

Storyteller and Virgo

LA-based social media marketer and brand journalist Mani O’Brien spends her downtime raising a small human and ranting on this blog. Here you’ll find frequent cursing, a self-indulgent analysis of her 30-something existence as a mother, Millennial, digital marketer, almost-wife and astrology-obsessed feminist.

6 Comments

  1. Joni Hughes

    Can’t wait to read your storie Mani! You are a remarkable human being.

    Reply
    • Mani

      Thank you, Joni. I appreciate your encouragement!

      Reply
  2. Mary K O'Brien

    Mani,
    Your story will inspire others. Go for it!!!!! Love you ALWAYS…..Aunt Mar

    Reply
    • Mani

      Love you, too, Auntie! Xo

      Reply
  3. L'aura Jay

    Yes! The world needs this!!
    ❤💜❤💜

    Reply
    • Mani

      Thanks, babe! xo

      Reply

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