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“I think you are wrong to want a heart. It makes most people unhappy. If you only knew it, you are in luck not to have a heart.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz



A look at Vicki Manalo Draves

A look at Vicki’s perspective…. 

1931, San Francisco,CA

My first memory was seeing my mother and father walking together in public alongside my sisters, Connie and Frankie holding hands at age seven when we would go to the Nickel Baths. I wasn’t a strong swimmer and learned to swim really three years later, I was terrified of drowning so I stayed alongside the pool’s wall.

Both my parents worked, my father two jobs at one point. When my mother was at work my father had time to take us to the nickel bath pools in Excelsior one day a week. She worked around the corner and would meet us after work at the pool every Sunday. I was so excited to jump in and be around the other kids. All around you would see kids from the neighborhood mostly, Irish,Italian, Black, Jewish, Asian, Hispanic the merging of different languages as their parents watched them from the balconies. My dad ran into a friend and sat while we played in the pool. I was so fearful of the water yet found the fact that I couldn’t touch the bottom exhilarating as I gripped the side of the pool. I saw someone dive off the board just watched them-that was what I looked forward too seeing them propel into the air and into the water. 

I knew when my mother got there it was time to go. “Mom-can we go back again tomorrow?” My sisters and I kept asking as she dried us off. “Once a week girls only.” Frankie protested “No. I saw on the sign its open tomorrow and you don’t work Mondays mom. Come on.” She stopped, “Sundays only-let’s go.” As we got up and left the pools were being drained. “Do they do that everyday mom?” She cheerfully answered, “they’re just cleaning girls-that reminds me we have to clean today too! Let’s go!” 

I didn’t understand how much of what happened to us-it was normal. My mother’s sister, Constance from England also married someone who was Filipino, and they would spend our modest weekly dinners with us on Sunday. Constance always smiled though her and my mother were beginning to worry about their mother back in England post World War I. After bedtime I could hear Constance crying in the kitchen with my mother. Our apartment was so small that the living room was converted into me and my sisters and bedroom. My mother whispered, “don’t mind them” (referring to co-workers) and Constance’s voice cracking “Oh Gert-you would have a word with them if you heard what they had to say. They said I would have been better off marrying a dog than marrying someone outside my own race. That its “embarrassing” to see me with someone who-Then I just think to you and Teo and your girls, it can work.” My mother whispered “its not always easy.”  Constance sighs, “I should go-I have to get to work early in the morning.” I pretended I was sleeping as she tipped toed over and kissed our foreheads before she left.

The next day as we were getting ready for school-my sister Frankie and Connie were fighting and my mother was calming us down as she was looking for my coat. The phone rang as she was putting my shoes on. “Girls! I can’t here a thing-Yes-This is Ms. Taylor-“ her heart sank as I saw her gasp. She broke down into tears and my sisters stopped fighting to see our mother for the first time cry. At age seven and eleven, my sisters embraced our mother and all we needed to know that’s all we needed to do. 

It was my father who had to explain to us that Constance was no longer with us. But it was until I was in my teens that I found out what actually happened. Constance was found dead in an elevator shaft at work. She had been receiving those insults at work as threats and though it was deemed an “accident” but we all knew it wasn’t. 

The next week went swimming I couldn’t help stay by the pool and look at my mother. Anita, her Hispanic friend and former co-worker came up to my mother and gave her a hug, her husband Michael, African American quickly followed. Their son Michael was in the pool splashing water all over Connie playing Marco Polo.

I saw then sign along the wall that said “International day Sundays” then “Monday-Saturday 8am-8pm,” Frankie was right the pool was open seven days a week. My father and mother kissed each other, my dad said, “okay see you girls at home.” Connie protested, “can I walk with dad?” My mother whispered, “no girls dad will be home soon okay.” Connie started “But-“ Frankie stopped her. 

It wasn’t until years later I learned “International day” was the one day where “Immigrants and Colored People” could swim until the pool was drained and sanitized for facility to be used for “whites only.” 

That was the last day my parents held hands in public. That was the last day my mother lost a bit of fire and turned to worry. That was the last day my mother taught us to stand up straight-she told us to look towards are toes. I looked up one time as we walked and saw a couple staring at us shaking their head. was the kind of look you have towards a stench, or disappointment,as if I had done something wrong without knowing. I turned my head and looked back down.

It wasn’t until at 15-I learned to dive at Fleischacker pool when I began learning how to stand up straight and also to teach my mother and father.


*We have till the 9th of March to tell this story. Back us on Kickstarter today to be a part of telling this story :

Read my journey here:




You get to decide how you feel about today.

I woke up today with this overwhelming anxiety. The feeling that I haven’t had in a really long time. I think I have been so much better at dealing with my schedule and things I need to do by just dealing with them one at a time and through yoga. But today my heart was palpitating, I was tossing the whole night and felt this feeling of just weight on my entire body. Then I started breathing, I got up took a deep breathe and something that I don’t think has ever happened happened. I started talking aloud to myself but not in a “where did my sunglasses go?” or “everything is going to be okay” sense. But in a long conversation that felt I was advising myself on how to deal, like my brain said “shut up I’m going to talk and you’re going to listen” in the most unapologetic trance-like state.

"You get to decide on how your day is. You get to decide on how you feel about your life and where you are at.  You get too scared of loosing the people in your life so you forget that you shouldn’t compromise. You get to decide on the people in your life. At the end of the day you’ve already lost them or never really had them if the truly cannot accept you. You are not alone there are people who support you, you have moved too far to stop. Remember why you started. Don’t let those people who say you can’t be the reason why you stop yourself. You get to be the person you want to be today, everyday." I was talking to myself while getting ready and glanced towards the mirror and said, "I believe in you." 

Sometimes its those days that are really tough to get up and forget why we do what we do. Why we choose the life we did.  We can passionately love what we’re doing as artists but it does not mean it does not come with days of mental struggle. I think it took me a very long time to really be able to tell myself that what gets me up in the day, “is me” its “YOU.” My motivations are fueled and influenced by the people in my life but I can’t do anything unless I do something as simply as getting up with the right attitude despite what happened yesterday, a few days before, a year ago, or what I think will happen next. Just get up, believe in you and decide on the kind of day you want to have. 




"The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.”
-Mark Manson



I wish above all for young artists today to keep their determination intact, because I know how hard it is to believe it is still possible to develop yourself with artistic integrity… ‘Do whatever the fuck you want’ is the positive message, the new mantra. Impose yourself, they will get used to it.

Jehnny Beth from Savages

(full piece at )

Just do it



"The Wall"

I was in yoga on Monday and what was so moving was the instructor talking about “The Wall.” This lovely instructor above, Briohnny is one of the best yogis I’ve ever met and I also refer to her for inspiration in practicing Yoga. 

"When you hit that wall in your practice or in your life, what you have to do is look at the wall. The wall is part of your journey, it is part of your growth. The best thing to get through it is to accept it and see how you can move forward."

I think there has been so much room in self doubt and self sabotage in all aspects of my life that really learning to look at that wall. What is wrong? Why do I keep repeating this pattern? How do I change the pattern and grow?

I’m terrified of heights and drowning and what I’ve recently learned to deal with rather not overcome is the lack of control. It’s never about the fear of heights or drowning, its about focusing and knowing I am afraid of those things. What if I wasn’t or what if I can deal with it on a daily basis? It truly is about the possibility of succeeding and shutting that voice of doubt. 

Deep down inside we know what the walls are, actually looking at it is terrifying. But knowing what it is step one, knowing how to knock it down and move past is is next.

When I look at Briohnny I look at her form and forget that she herself took a long journey of mental strength to get to that point. I realized when I fell on my back a few months ago that I rushed it and didn’t trust that I knew how to fall. I got back up and after weeks of physical therapy am able to move again but everyday am reminded of what it is to not be present. 

What’s so hard when you’re in process is the process. It always seems to be the ultimate or the overwhelmingness of everything versus being present. It has been one of the most difficult phases in life and most of it my own doing which what can you do but admit we are human and move on. Some may truly not fully understand and see one side to it and unfortunately, me further even expanding servers no one. As heart breaking as life can be, its life. And sometimes we all need to look at our walls for a bit longer than others and hope maybe one day they’ll understand. 







Good morning!



The Force is strong tonight

The Force is strong tonight



Japanese French food

Japanese French food