About Marisa Donnelly

Writer. Poet. Essayist. Editor.

Trust Your Inner Voice (You Know More Than You Think)

If I were to summarize my entire twenties in a single sentence, I’d have to say that (so far) they’ve been about searching for what’s inherently within me. Okay, I know that sort of sounds like this big, philosophical statement, but what I really mean is that I’ve been unlearning all that doesn’t sit right with me and relearning what I feel, believe, think, and love.

I’ve been discovering the parts of my life and my soul that have been a crucial part of who I am without trying, without yearning, without changing myself to fit someone else’s desired role or mold.

So much of our lives, honestly, is about searching. We’re constantly looking for someone to love, for a path to follow, for a dream to chase. We’re looking for answers about what our purpose is, what we’re meant to do, and who, at the end of the day, we’re becoming.

Searching isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a natural part of our lives. We’re supposed to be looking for answers. We’re not supposed to be standing still. It’s when we get distracted by so many other people’s dreams or when we fall off our own path striving to feel or be something we’re not—that’s when we lose our way.

In life it’s so easy to get caught up in the wrong thing. It’s so easy to say ‘yes’ to things that don’t quite mesh with what we believe, or say no to what does by accident. It’s so easy to walk the same line as our friends, getting caught up in their laughter or mistakes. It’s so easy to jump into situations and opportunities for fear of getting left behind or for being too excited in the moment. It’s so easy to settle because we don’t quite know our worth or because we don’t know any better about what’s out there, about what’s coming.

But learning to quiet the sounds of the world and listen to what I’m actually feeling, thinking, and resonating with has been the single most important lesson of my life. Continue reading

When The Words Don’t Come

Creativity comes in ebbs and swells. I don’t know how I got to this place, but nothing feels familiar. This coffee shop is hot. Next to me, my boyfriend’s dog whimpers. He sees a friend outside, stopping to smell a tree. Like me, he longs to be somewhere else.

I’ve always been a writer, ever since I could remember. It always felt natural, felt easy, felt right. Now, it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I don’t know how—don’t know how, in the sense of putting everything else aside and being in the moment with the words. That used to be the easiest thing for me. Now I’m always looking at the to-do list, feeling behind before I start.

How do I get re-grounded?

My inbox blinks back at me, lines and lines of unread text. In the background of this coffee shop, a machine whirs. The sound would be comforting but I can’t help but feel the pressure of the line forming at the front counter, the woman in the back on the couch tapping her foot, the sun streaming through the shaded window.

I should be out there. I should be at the gym. I should be doing something else, something more. I should be anywhere but here.

The anxiousness creeps up in my mind again in a voice that’s barely recognizable from my own. I used to be able to slow down, to speed up, to find a place for words—whenever, however they came. Now I’m staring at a computer screen, feeling like two hours doesn’t come close to enough, so maybe I shouldn’t write at all.

When did I become so afraid of the sound of my own voice? Continue reading

In Another Universe: Experiencing Wonderspaces San Diego

I love contemporary art. I love the way people can capture a mood through items we so often see in the everyday, yet make them profound, real, and tangible somehow. I love the way artists convey such deep meaning through light, color, even sound. And I love the feeling I get when I walk into an exhibit and hear only silence around me, save for the intake of breath as everyone experiences what is in front of them—transfixed, almost as if transported to another universe.

That was my exact experience at Wonderspaces San Diego, a traveling art installation that shares artwork from people all around the world. Continue reading

35 Best Sports Quotes To Motivate The Hell Out Of You

As a young athlete, I wanted nothing more than to read every inspirational quote I came across. I wanted to save them, write them on note cards and tape them to the inside of my locker and bathroom mirror. I wanted to decorate my binder with them, pick the best quote about sports for the back of our team t-shirt. Finding something that defined my experience made me feel both understood, and empowered. And to know other athletes felt the same way reminded me—even on the toughest days—why I kept going.

Whether you were an athlete, raised or coached one, cheered on a sibling or friends from the stands, or attended games in your boldest and brightest spirit wear, the love of sports is within you. It’s within each of us.

You don’t have to be playing to understand the grit of dirt under your fingernails, the smell of fresh popcorn mixed with sweat, or the crazy up and down of emotions as the other team breaks away with the ball. Whether you came to this page for motivation, for nostalgia, or to reflect back on the way the game has changed your life, here are 35 of the best quotes about to remind you how the passion will never die. Continue reading

On Being A Better Feminist (And Other Good Reads)

I spent the end of last week reminding myself what it means to relax. I don’t know if you’re in that mode, it being summer and all, but I struggle, sometimes, to just rest. I love the rush. I love being busy. I love having to-do lists, obligations, responsibilities, and plans. But sometimes it’s so hard to detach from that lifestyle, to be centered in the moment and put work aside.

I think it’s even harder when my ‘work’ isn’t really work at all. I love writing, connecting, sharing my heart through social media. But this passion can make it difficult to draw a line between when I’m working, or just living in the present. And this past weekend I tried to be a bit better about that. I tried to log off, to unplug. I listened to music, didn’t even record for my favorite DJ because I wanted to watch the whole thing in the moment and not behind a screen. I didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn to write. I slept in, I talked, I sat at a coffee shop and sipped on a cold drink and pet a dog and took deep breaths. As silly as this sounds, sometimes it’s hard for me.

Do you ever feel so inundated with information, articles, blogs, lists, LIFE that you forget how to live it?

Anyways, all that is to say I didn’t get around to sharing my reading list until today, but here’s what I’ve really ruminated on over the last week. Reading together and sharing thoughts connects us culturally, globally, spiritually, academically, etc. So I hope you always feel welcomed to comment and take part in the discussion. Continue reading

Maybe It’s Not Perfection We’re Searching For After All

I read in a survey that the average American only has 15 “perfect days” per year. When I first came across these words, my eyebrows furrowed. A “perfect day”—What does that even mean? Is it the same for everyone? Different? Is it measurable? And why are there so little of these days that we’re truly experiencing? Continue reading

Finding Peace In The Chaos

“Talk to me,” I whisper. My words barely float across the center console between us, hanging in the air, soft and uncertain. The windows of my car are halfway down, the wind whipping wildly past, drowning out all sound. In the distance, the summer night is bending into sunset, blues becoming hazy oranges and purples at the edge of the mountains.

California is burning. I can feel the heat on my face, even though the raging wildfires are miles and miles away. Everything feels hot, anxious. Even my feet, pressed against the pedals, can’t sit still. Continue reading

Why Are We Always Tired? (And Other Incredibly Introspective Articles)

Hello all! I’ve decided that I’m revamping this reading list section of my blog to be of more value to the readers. Previously I was collecting articles I resonated with and simply pulling quotes I liked. Now I am digging deeper, providing my thoughts in conjunction with takeaways + quotes because as creators, our goal is to really dissect what we’re absorbing and make value of it in our own lives.

I hope you’ll join me in this journey of introspection, connection, and commentary on what really matters. And please, feel free to catch up on the other weeks and leave comments as you see fit.

Welcome + thanks for being here! Continue reading

Recognize Your Potential, And Then Wildly Pursue It

Life is all about chances, and empowering yourself—despite the obstacles that may stand in your way—to take them. Every single one. Continue reading

There Is A Promise Of Hope In Every Challenge

Look back, for a moment, on the times that shaped you the most. Was it the days you were stagnant and still? The mornings you woke and followed the same patterns, same routines? The nights you fell asleep with no real ambitions, just ready to move into a new day? To do the same thing, be the same person you were yesterday?

Or was it the times that your foundation was completely rocked? The days riddled with chaos and questions? The mornings you weren’t quite sure where to go next, what path to follow, or even who you were? The nights you lost your sense of purpose and identity, and so began wildly searching for a new place, a new home, a new road?

Was it the painful moments, the struggles, the challenges that truly brought you to the place you are now? Continue reading